6 Ways To Cure A Musty-Smelling Bathroom

The bathroom giving you a musty time? Here’s how to freshen the room.

A bathroom with a musty smell has mould or mildew. Bathrooms are prone to this problem since mould grows in places where there is a lot of moisture. When people take regular showers but fail to provide adequate drying or ventilation, the bathroom will develop mould over time.

Getting rid of mould and mildew is something anyone can do. In case you need the top 6 suggestions out there, we’ve got them all. 

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The Reasons Why Your Bathroom Is smelling Musty

Mould is a fungus. During its life cycle, it releases spores. These spores are plucky creatures. They travel through the air, unseen and microscopic. If they happen to land on moisture, the spores grow rapidly. Mildew is often the term used to refer to mould growing on a flat surface, like the shower walls and floor. “Mould” usually grows on organic matter. But both can appear in a bathroom and their presence is betrayed by a musty smell.

Bathroom mould is so common that it is one of the most common problems encountered in the home. While lingering moisture is the food that multiples species of mould feed on and thrive, leaking plumbing, and damp walls can also encourage the goobers to grow. A lack of ventilation is also a huge factor why mould spreads all over the place. 

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6 Ways To Cure A Musty-Smelling Bathroom

Here are the 6 ways to get rid of mould.

  1. Look for leaky plumbing.
  2. Wash the bathroom.
  3. Consider an air purifier.
  4. Create air circulation.
  5. Repaint the bathroom.
  6. Use a bleach solution to kill the mould.

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Look For Leaky Plumbing

Time to gaze closely at the stuff in your bathroom. Look at the showerhead. Open the cabinet doors under the bathroom sink and look at the p-trap. That’s right, give the toilet a good look too. If you notice any streaks, there are leaks. If there is a mouldy smell too, well, then you have found your problem. 

Fixing leaking plumbing depends on what pipe or part you are dealing with. Most can be sealed with commercial plumbing or pipe sealants but if the leaking and mould smell is coming from your bathtub, then things get more complicated. When water and mould spread in-between the bath and wall, the damage might already be too great. It is best to let an expert assess the situation if you smell a strong mould odour coming from your bath.

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Wash The Bathroom

6 Ways To Cure A Musty-Smelling Bathroom

Okay, this is nobody’s favourite chore but if you are serious about getting rid of the smell then this should be on your To-Do list. Here are a few tips to give you an idea of what needs to be cleaned. 

  • Remove all the laundry from the basket if you keep your laundry basket in the bathroom. The clothes need to be washed and the basket can also do with a wipe-down with a good cleaner. Very often, clothes that are left too long in the laundry basket develop a musty smell.
  • If your bathroom is already smelly, the towels all need to go to. Throw them in the washer, given them a thorough cleaning, and hang them out to dry. Keep them on the washing line until they are completely moisture-free.
  • Mop the floor but make sure to get those corners too. Mould loves corners. Use a good commercial anti-fungal cleaner to zap the spores and established blotches. Dry the floor thoroughly as well.
  • Give the walls a good scrub. As with the floor, choose the best anti-fungal cleaner that you can get and dry the walls as much as you can once you are done with the washing.
  • Don’t clean shower curtains with mould. Throw them away and rather replace them with a new curtain. 
  • Also, get rid of any bath and toilet mats that reek of mould. These mats are cheaply available at most stores and will save you the trouble of washing something that will probably require extensive effort before you can completely rid them of mould.
  • Thoroughly clean and dry the shower walls, floor, showerhead, and sliding doors. 

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Consider An Air Purifier

Placing an air purifier inside the bathroom is a great way to remove the smell of mould and also prevent mould from growing in the first place. Even if you already have some, an air purifier can also help to reduce the growth of mould in the bathroom. As a bonus, it will make the air quality in the bathroom better. This is particularly important if you or someone in your family suffer from allergies or breathing difficulties.

However, it is important to remember that a bathroom’s moisture and the air is more demanding on a purifier than other rooms. For this reason, pick the best air purifier that you can. If you can find one that is specifically designed to deal with the special needs of a bathroom, then that is even better. 

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Create Air Circulation

6 Ways To Cure A Musty-Smelling Bathroom

That’s right. After you’re done with your shower or just throughout the day, open that window. It also cannot hurt to keep the bathroom door open to help create a draft. A draft will help to keep the bathroom dry and prevent spores from getting the moisture they need to grow. 

If you don’t want to open the windows for some reason or fail to get a good draft, consider using a fan. You can add a floor fan or find out how to install a bathroom extractor fan to pull the moisture from the bathroom.

Repaint The Bathroom

This option is only for the serious DIY enthusiast, if you’ve been wanting to repaint the bathroom a different colour anyway and now have the chance to do so – or that removing the mould forced you to damage the walls and paint. Should you go this route, it is critical to make sure that you have removed all traces of mould before you paint the bathroom.

  1. Inspect the walls for mould and make sure the surfaces are clean and ready.
  2. Apply an anti-mould primer.
  3. Let the primer dry on the walls and ceiling. 
  4. Apply an anti-mould paint.

READ NEXT: Discover how to renovate your bathroom on a budget.

Use A Bleach Solution To Kill The Mould

Bleach is a good weapon against mould. In fact, it is particularly effective when you apply it in the right way. Always wear gloves when working with bleach and wear old clothes (bleach that splatter onto your pants or shoes might remove the fabric’s colour, even when diluted). 

Mix 1 part bleach with 10 parts water. Only use it on areas that are non-porous and cannot be reached by pets or kids (you have to leave the bleach). The bleach will kill the mould and prevent it from spreading. 

A Quick Summary On Why Bathrooms Smell Musty

  • A musty bathroom has mould or mildew. The odour itself is coming from the fungi.
  • The problem can be light or severe. If severe, it might be best to call in an expert.
  • Lighter mould problems can be fixed by removing moisture from the bathroom, keeping the area ventilated and dry, as well as spot-treating mould with a bleach solution as soon as it appears.