Simple Solutions

How to Remove Musty Odors from Your Home

By: Joe Truini
Applying scented extract to return air filter to help reduce musty odors.

Applying scented extract to return air filter to help reduce musty odors.

When replacing the return air filter on the heating and cooling system in your home, put a few drops of vanilla, lemon, almond or orange extract on the filter. When the HVAC system cuts on, it will draw air through the filter and distribute the scent to every room in your house.

This is an inexpensive and easy way to eliminate odors—such as those caused by pets—while giving your house a fresh, clean scent. Watch this video to find out more.

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6 Comments on “How to Remove Musty Odors from Your Home”

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  • Kathy Says:
    September 20th, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    We do not have a filter like that in our home. The only filter we have is in the furnace, is that the same thing? Can I put that on it with it being that close to the furnace?

  • Jill Says:
    September 8th, 2015 at 11:00 pm

    How often will I need to add more fragrance to the filter?

  • Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    June 30th, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Hi Maria,
    To remove the musty smell in your basement, you need to start by attacking the cause by lowering the humidity and stopping any moisture from getting in. To accomplish this, make sure the ground around the basement slopes away from the house, and direct any rainwater from roofs or downspouts away from the basement walls. If you still are having moisture problems in the basement, seal the basement walls. To reduce humidity levels in the basement, install a dehumidifier. Finally, kills any mold or mildew that might be in the basement. Good luck with your project!

  • maria carpenter Says:
    June 22nd, 2011 at 9:07 am

    how can I remove the dusty not quite damp,musty smell from my basement. I consider mopping the basement floor with amonia but that last only temp and the smell of amonia was all thru the house. thanks

  • Official Comment:

    Joe T. Says:
    January 26th, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Hi Debra, good question. Some scented oils are alcohol-based, and might indeed be flammable. But they’d only be flammable while wet. Once the alcohol evaporates, the remaining oils are pretty inert. However, with that said, you might be best to avoid any alcohol-based products, just in case. Thanks for writing and good luck!–Joe T.

  • Debra Huddleston Says:
    January 26th, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    I’m wondering if I could use scented oils instead of extracts, or would it be a fire hazard?

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