How To Get Rid Of Mildew Smell In Apartment: 5 Helpful Steps

Are you facing mildew smell problems? Do you want to learn how to get rid of mildew smell in apartment? 

Is the earthy smell lingering in your apartment something you should concern yourself about? It’s probably yes since it can indicate mildew growths or mold growth in the worst case.

Nobody likes having their homes smell like molds or mildews, more so when this smell indicates that this fungus is infesting some corner of your home. This calls for action; continue reading to know more about mildew smell and how to get rid of it in your apartment or house.


What Is Mildew?

Mildew is often confused with mold. It is understandable though, since both are frequent household fungi that grow in wet, humid areas.

HGTV described mildew as patches of white to gray that lie on a moistened surface. Compared to mold, mildews are easier to treat and remove.

Mildew looks powdery, dry, and flat. It requires specific amounts of temperature and moisture to thrive.

It grows on surfaces and doesn’t infiltrate the insides, making it easier to clean. Since it only grows on top of the materials, it doesn’t leave immense damage.

The smell produced by this fungus is earthy and musty. The scent is significantly milder than wetted socks or the smell of rotting wood.

In terms of the danger, although milder than mold, after a long period of exposure, it can still cause adverse effects on your health. People with problems with the respiratory system, infants, pregnant, children, and the elderly can face health problems upon contact with mildew.

For further comparison with mildew smell, learn from this article about what does house mold smell like.


Best Way To Prevent Mildew Smell

The best way to prevent mildew smell is to prevent its growth. Like some would say, prevention is always better than cure.

If you want to remove that musty smell caused by mildew, see the following steps:


Step #1. Search where the smell comes

You would need to check every nuke and cranny of your apartment to know where this originates. It’ll be easier to analyze since most mildews grow on surfaces and look like powdery white patches. 

Start by exploring those areas that are dampened with water frequently. Also, inspect items that previously got wet.


Step #2. Remove unnecessary items

After finding the affected area, put away all items near it to prevent others from being affected.

If the area affected is the wall or the ground, open windows for the air to circulate. If it’s an item or equipment that you can carry, it’s better to do the cleaning outside.


Step #3. Applying vinegar and scrub with baking soda

You’ll need some white vinegar, baking soda, and a spray bottle here. Be sure to wear protective equipment such as gloves, masks, and goggles.

Start with filling a bottle with vinegar, spray the affected area and leave it aside for an hour or two. After some time, dampen a sponge with water, add baking soda, and brush the affected area.

Finally, please give it a good rinse and say goodbye to the mildew.


Step #4. Dry it thoroughly

Ensure to dry the cleaned area or material to prevent more mildew or mold growth. If the source of mildew was from a material, furniture, or equipment, you should let it dry under the sun.


Step #5. Use essential oils

After cleaning the affected item or area, if the smell persists inside your place, you may use essential oils such as grapefruit seed extract or tea tree oil diluted with water placed inside a spray bottle.


Mildew Prevention

Knowing how to prevent mildew from growing in your apartment is always better. Adding a few small actions to your routines can help control mildew growth.

See the following advice that you can easily take note of:

  1. Make use of exhaust fans for good circulation of air. Install fans in your bathrooms, kitchen, and basement.
  2. Having an air conditioner is good, but you can use dehumidifiers or humidifiers if you don’t have one. See this article about what to put in humidifier to prevent mold, as this can also help prevent mildew.
  3. Keep any surfaces clean and dry.
  4. Keep any fabric thoroughly dry before storing. Immediately wash soiled wet clothes to prevent mildew growth.
  5. Work with chemicals that absorb moisture, such as silica gel or activated alumina. These chemicals can help keep small spaces dry.
  6. Have light bulbs in smaller areas or spaces such as closets or pantries.

For additional information, you can see this article about how to combat mold and mildew that discusses the typical breeding grounds of mold and mildew and how to solve it.



Mildew, although milder compared to mold, can still cause harmful effects on your health and can also leave damage to your materials. Apartments and homes should be a haven not only for you but for your family and belongings.

Knowing how to get rid of mildew smell in apartment isn’t the only concern you should have, but also finding and eliminating the roots of this smell to preserve you and your family’s health and everything else in your place.

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