Will a Dehumidifier Get Rid of Musty Smell in Basement?

If you have a musty smell in your basement, you may be wondering what is causing it and how to get rid of it. One solution that is often suggested is to use a dehumidifier. But, will a dehumidifier really help to get rid of the musty smell in your basement? In this article, we will explore the relationship between humidity, mold, and water, and how a dehumidifier can help to eliminate musty smells in your basement.

Why is My Basement Musty?

A musty smell in your basement can be caused by a variety of factors, but two of the most common causes are water infiltration and high humidity. Understanding the underlying cause of the musty smell in your basement is the first step in figuring out how to get rid of it. In this section, we will explore these two common causes in more detail.

Water infiltration is a common cause of musty smells in basements. This can occur when water seeps into your basement through cracks in the foundation, leaky pipes, or other sources. Water in your basement creates an ideal environment for mold and mildew to grow, which can result in musty odors. In addition, water damage can cause structural damage to your home, and can make the air in your basement feel damp and humid.

High humidity is another common cause of musty smells in basements. High humidity levels can promote the growth of mold, mildew, and other harmful pollutants, and can also cause musty odors. Humidity levels in your home can be affected by a variety of factors, including the weather, your home’s ventilation system, and the amount of moisture being generated inside your home.

If you have a musty smell in your basement, it’s important to determine the underlying cause so that you can address it effectively. If the cause is water infiltration, you’ll need to find and repair the source of the leak. If the cause is high humidity, a dehumidifier may be an effective solution. In either case, it’s important to take action quickly to prevent further damage and to protect the health and comfort of your home.

How to Use a Dehumidifier to Get Rid of Musty Smell

A musty odor in a basement can be caused by high humidity levels and the growth of mold or mildew. This damp and unpleasant smell can be a nuisance and difficult to eliminate. However, a dehumidifier can be an effective solution for getting rid of the musty smell in your basement. Here’s how to use a dehumidifier to effectively eliminate the odor:

  • Measure humidity levels: Before using a dehumidifier, it’s important to measure the humidity levels in your basement. A hygrometer is a tool that can measure the relative humidity in your basement. Ideally, you want to maintain relative humidity levels below 50% to prevent mold and mildew growth.
  • Choose the right dehumidifier: When choosing a dehumidifier for your basement, it’s important to choose one that is appropriately sized for the space. A dehumidifier that is too small won’t be effective, and one that is too large will consume more energy than necessary. Consider the square footage of your basement and the level of humidity when choosing a dehumidifier.
  • Place the dehumidifier in the right location: Place the dehumidifier in a central location in your basement to ensure maximum effectiveness. Make sure the dehumidifier is away from walls and other obstacles that can block the flow of air.
  • Use the dehumidifier regularly: Once you have placed the dehumidifier in the right location, turn it on and let it run until the musty odor is gone. You may need to run the dehumidifier for several days or even weeks, depending on the severity of the problem.
  • Keep Ventilation in Mind: To effectively remove the musty odor, good ventilation is key. Keep windows open and use exhaust fans to circulate fresh air in the basement.

By using a dehumidifier and following these tips, you can get rid of the musty odor in your basement. Regular maintenance and attention to humidity levels will help keep your basement smelling fresh and free of mold or mildew.

How to Make a Musty Basement Smell Better

A musty basement can be a source of unpleasant odors and can even cause health problems. If you want to improve the air quality in your basement and make it smell better, there are several things you can do. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  1. Increase ventilation – Good ventilation is key to preventing musty smells in the basement. You can install vents or fans to increase the flow of fresh air into the basement.
  2. Clean up any mold or mildew – Mold and mildew are common causes of musty odors in basements. If you find mold or mildew, clean it up immediately using a solution of one part bleach to ten parts water.
  3. Use air fresheners – You can use air fresheners to mask musty odors. There are many different types of air fresheners available, including sprays, plug-in air fresheners, and natural options like essential oils.
  4. Use a dehumidifier – If your basement has high humidity, a dehumidifier can help to control moisture levels and reduce musty odors. You should run the dehumidifier continuously until you notice a significant improvement in the air quality.
  5. Keep your basement clean and dry – Regular cleaning and maintenance can help prevent musty smells in the basement. Make sure to sweep and mop the floor regularly and keep the basement dry to prevent mold and mildew growth.
  6. Seal any leaks or cracks – Leaks and cracks in the basement can allow water and humidity to seep in, leading to musty odors. Seal any leaks or cracks you find to prevent water infiltration and maintain good air quality.


In conclusion, a musty basement smell can be caused by high humidity levels, water infiltration or the growth of mold and mildew. A dehumidifier can be a highly effective solution in removing the odor and helping to maintain a dry, healthy basement environment. While a dehumidifier is an important tool in tackling musty smells, it is equally important to address the root cause of the problem and prevent it from happening again. Other methods to help get rid of musty smell include proper ventilation, ensuring proper water management, and regular cleaning and maintenance of your basement. Remember, the key to a must-free basement is to keep it dry and well-ventilated.

Last Updated on February 13, 2023