How To

How to Get Rid of Musty Smells

Here’s how to get rid of musty smells using common household items, like cat litter, newspapers, and charcoal briquettes.

By Earl Proulx

Apr 03 2018

Do anything you can to dry out that musty basement or closet to get rid of musty smells: Open the doors and windows wide, take bureaus and drawers outside into the sun, leave a closet light on for a few days or place an electric fan on the floor for added circulation. Anything you can do to dry out the space is time well spent. A few precautions now will ward off everything from mildew to insect infestations. Here are some of the best ways to get rid of musty smells and mildew.
How to Get Rid of Musty Smells
How to Get Rid of Musty Smells


Get Rid of Musty Smells with Cat Litter

  • Get rid of musty smells in drawers, closets, and rooms by placing a small container of scented cat litter in the affected area. Replace the litter every few days until the odor is gone.
  • Relatively small items with musty odors should be placed in plastic bags with cat litter. Seal the bags tightly and with tape or clothespins and let them sit for a few days. Then dump out the litter and repeat if necessary.
  • To get rid of a musty smell in upholstered furniture, spray a deodorant or sprinkle cat litter over the piece. Let it sit for a while, then vacuum. Repeat if necessary.

Get Rid of Musty Smells with Newspaper

  • Get rid of musty smells in books by filling a large brown bag with crumpled newspaper, putting the books in the bag, and sealing it tight. Leave the books in the bag for a day or so, then repeat the treatment daily until the odor is gone.
  • One way to rid a suitcase of a musty smell is to fill it with crumpled newspaper, then close it up. Change the paper every 2 or 3 days until the odor is gone.

Get Rid of Musty Smells with Charcoal Briquettes

  • To prevent a musty smell from developing in a closed cottage, place pans of charcoal briquettes in several rooms. The charcoal will absorb moisture. You can burn the briquettes in your barbecue later.
  • To reduce mustiness and moisture in closets, place a few charcoal briquettes in a shallow pan on the floor. Replace the charcoal every few months to keep the closet fresh.
Do you know how to get rid of musty smells using other methods? Let us know in the comments! This post was first published in 2012 and has been updated.

SEE MORE: 16 Fall Cleaning TipsGet Scratches Out of Wood | DIY AdviceHow to Clean Wood Furniture