How to Get Rid of a Mildew Smell in a Closed Up House

Mildew can grow almost anywhere, but it thrives in damp, poorly-ventilated areas. A house that's been closed up for a while, particularly in the a warm, damp climate, is a perfect medium for the growth of mildew. If the damage is not extensive, you can alleviate the smell of mild mildew problems with some common sense and simple cleaning techniques.

Things You'll Need

  • Dehumidifiers
  • Fans
  • Washing machine
  • Soap
  • Bleach
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Brush

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Eliminate moisture in the house. Moisture in the air encourages the growth of mold. Place dehumidifiers in the house as necessary to eliminate any residual moisture.

Air the house thoroughly. Open all the windows and doors, and place fans to circulate air in and out of the house.

Wash any bedding or draperies in the house with detergent and a mild bleach mixture. Dry these thoroughly, preferably on a clothesline, before hanging up or putting away.

Clean any direct evidence of mildew on floors, walls, or other surfaces. A solution of bleach and water is one of the most effective methods of cleaning mildew from surfaces. Scrub the surfaces with a brush and the mixture of bleach and water.

Vacuum carpets after sprinkling with baking soda. Give the baking soda a period of time to absorb odors--usually 3 to 4 hours is sufficient. Vacuum several times to remove all the baking soda.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you're sensitive to molds or mildew, wear a filter mask while working in the house.


  • Cleaning Plain & Simple: A Ready Reference guide with hundreds of sparkling solutions to your everyday cleaning challenges; Donna Smallin; 2005
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