Why Does My Room Smell Like Mildew? A 7-Step Removal Guide

If you ever asked, “why does my room smell like mildew”, then it may be time to do an inspection. Sometimes, mildew grows undetected, and it becomes a problem. 


why does my room smell like mildew

What Is This Unpleasant Scent?

Do you catch a whiff of a damp sock smell in your room without the presence of wet socks? Or maybe you notice an earthy and musty odor without you having plants inside your room?

You may wonder about the cause of these unpleasant odors, and rightfully so because fungi cause them. For your reference, here’s an article on what does house mold smell like to familiarize you with the different scents of fungi. 

However, frequently, people just dismiss these scents as caused by the lack of ventilation in their room. Lack of ventilation in a room does contribute to the unpleasant smell because it traps moisture, which then invites mildew growth. 

Typically, mildew only takes a maximum of 48 hours before they form. During this time, the smell is not that obvious, and you would only catch a whiff of it. 

However, as the mildew develops and spreads, the smell becomes more evident and intense. 


What Causes Mildew Smell?

There are several causes of mildew smell, the leading cause being moisture or water damage. There are multiple forms of water damage. 

The reason can range from walls acquiring moisture to ceilings getting leaks for rooms. Water damage can also take the form of leaks from window sills or broken caulk. 

For rooms with adjacent bathrooms, the cause of moisture is more prominent. Your bathroom is one of the most moisture-rich rooms in your household; second to it is the kitchen. 

Either way, you cannot remove the mildew smell from your room unless you find out the cause of water damage and fix it accordingly. Here’s an article about how to fix water damaged granite at home that may help you or at least inform you how water damage repairs happen. 

Another reason for the mildew smell is your room’s abundant food source or organic debris. This can be due to tree saps getting on your windows and the moisture in the cracks, which could lead to mildew growth. 


How Can You Remove The Mildew Smell?

There are several ways to remove the mildew smell in your home. We’ll share the steps to remove the mildew smell. 

However, before that, we urge you to find out first where the mildew smell is coming from. Otherwise, the removal methods may not work or may be counterproductive. 

Moreover, we would recommend inspecting your room for water damage as it may be undetected and would lead to future fungi growth even after mildew removal. 

Lastly, put on protective gear while working on the mildew removal process because exposure to it may trigger skin allergies or respiratory issues. 


Step #1. Wash the object

If you found the reason for the mildew problem, wash it. If the origin of the mildew smell is clothes, then run them a cycle in the washing machine. 

Inspect your belongings for signs of mildew growth, then wash them accordingly. If they are not fragile, put bleach in the wash. 

If they are, resort to using baking soda. Wash it three times, first to clean it, second to remove the mildew smell, and third to thoroughly remove the unpleasant odor. 


Step #2. Dry it

After washing the contaminated items, dry them out naturally. Hang the items on the clothesline to air them out. 

This step is also helpful in killing the remaining mildew spores on the item.


Step #3. Attend to bigger items

Since mildew spreads fast, the chances are that it got on more oversized items that cannot be washed via a washing machine. In this situation, clean everything. 

Use bleach water, then wipe everything down. This is especially recommended for rooms with adjacent bathrooms. 

Wash curtains, rugs, everything that has been contaminated with mold. 


Step #4. Fix the water damage

As mentioned above, water damage is the leading cause of mildew growth. Hence, inspect for water damage or leave it to an expert; it’s up to you. 

If you can spare a bit for a formal water damage inspection, we thoroughly recommend that, so you won’t miss any water damage issues. 


Step #5. Use a dehumidifier

Dehumidifiers prevent future mildew growth by keeping the moisture levels within reasonable levels. However, be mindful of the moisture it collects and empty it from time to time.


Step #6. Replace Bad Odor

After getting rid of the mildew problem and its accompanying smell, try to use odor eaters. You can use Febreze or Downy Unstoppables to remove the mildew scent and replace it with a fresher one. 


Step #7. Replace damaged items

Since not all items will be salvageable after a fungi problem, be prepared to replace them. One example would be to replace rotten cabinets or towels that have been thoroughly infected with mildew. 



The answer to the fungi-related question, “why does my room smell like mildew” is because it may have mildew growth. Hopefully, you took the damp socks scent as a warning and attended to it.

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