Help! My Bathroom Smells Musty. What Should I Do?

Bathroom Smells Musty

⭐ Bathroom Smells Musty? We Have the Solution!

Bathrooms are one of the most common places in our homes that can start to smell musty.

This is due to various factors, including dampness from bathroom activities like showering and bathing, lack of proper ventilation, and accumulation of mold or mildew.

It’s essential to identify the source of the musty smell quickly so it doesn’t become an ongoing problem.

Our guide will help you do that by providing tips on finding and addressing the cause and preventative measures for keeping your bathroom smelling fresh and clean!

⭐ Identifying the Smell

smelly bathroom

💧 Mold and Mildew

Mold and mildew are usually the primary cause behind musty bathroom odors.

Ensure you inspect bathroom surfaces to check for mold and mildew growth signs, such as dark spots or discoloration on bathroom walls, floors, ceilings, and even behind picture frames.

Also, look closely at tile grout and caulk to ensure they are not cracked or worn out.

Other items to check are regular items in your bathroom that might not be as clean as you think.

Stale window curtains, old dirty bath towels, and even musty bathroom rugs can all be culprits.

💧 Check for Leaks or Water Damage

Leaks in bathroom fixtures, pipes, and drains can also cause musty odors.

Inspect bathroom surfaces thoroughly to look for any signs of water damage, such as the following:

  • peeling paint or wallpaper
  • wet spots on the ceiling or walls
  • dampness or moisture on bathroom floors
  • and pools of water around bathroom fixtures.

Excess water in your bathroom provides the perfect environment for mold growth to take over your bathroom.

leaking bathroom pipes

💧 Check For Blockages in Drains and Pipes

Blockages in bathroom drains and pipes can cause sewer gases to escape into the bathroom environment can lead to a mildew smell.

Inspect your bathroom pipes for any signs of blockages or obstructions.

A slow drain leak from your sink or toilet will have the same effect.

💧 Consider Any Recent Cleaning or Renovation Activities

Musty bathroom smells can also be due to bathroom cleaning products and materials used in bathroom renovations.

Make sure to use bathroom cleaners that are safe for your bathroom surfaces, and only use materials that do not emit strong odors.

Quick DIY Solutions

Below are some simple tips on how to prevent and remove the source of the smell.

With our help, your bathroom will smell fresh and clean in no time!

man cleaning bathroom

💧 Clean and Disinfect Surfaces

Using a cleaning solution and a scrub brush, clean all surfaces in the bathroom, including the walls, floors, fixtures, shower doors, and any other moisture-prone areas.

This will remove any dirt, grime, or other contaminants contributing to the musty smell.

Be sure to disinfect these surfaces to kill any bacteria or mold spores that may be present.

💧 Run Your Bathroom Fan or Open a Window

Poor ventilation can cause musty smells to linger in the bathroom.

Ensure your bathroom fan is working correctly, and run it for at least 20 minutes after each shower or bath.

If possible, open windows to allow fresh air to circulate.

This will help to remove any excess moisture and prevent mold and mildew growth.

If your bathroom doesn’t have an exhaust fan or a ceiling fan, consider purchasing a small electric fan to keep the air moving.

open bathroom window

💧 Removing and Preventing Mold Growth

Check for any visible mold or mildew growth in the bathroom.

If you find any, use a bleaching solution to clean it up.

Be sure to wear gloves and a mask to protect yourself while you work.

To prevent mold and mildew growth in the future, keep the bathroom dry and well-ventilated, and consider using mold inhibitors in at-risk areas.

💧 Unclog Your Drains and Pipes

A clogged drain or pipe can cause water to back up and create a mildew smell in the bathroom.

Use a plunger or a drain snake to unclog any drains, and check the pipes under the sink for any blockages.

If you cannot clear the backup, it’s time to call a plumber.

Female plumber with a plunger

💧 Addressing Leaks or Water Damage

Leaks or water damage can also cause musty smells in the bathroom.

Check for any leaks or signs of water damage, such as stains or discoloration on the walls or floors.

If you find any, it’s time to put on your DIY hat or call a professional to fix them as soon as possible.

💧 Use an Odor Absorber

Like activated charcoal, baking soda, or white vinegar, this natural deodorizer can help eliminate odors, absorb excess humidity, and make your bathroom smell fresher.

💧 Add a High Performing Air Purifier

Adding a good air purifier to your bathroom will not only remove unhealthy mold in the air, but will also help make that nasty smell disappear.

Larger purifiers with larger fans can help facilitate better air circulation and improve indoor air quality.

Bathroom Air Purifier

💧 Using Inhibitors For At-Risk Areas

If your bathroom is prone to mold or mildew growth, consider using a mold inhibitor or mildew inhibitor in at-risk areas such as the shower or bathtub.

These products can help to prevent mold and mildew growth, which can help to keep that mildew stench at bay.

💧 Better Bathroom Practices

man singing in the shower

Better bathroom manners can go a long way in keeping your bathroom smelling fresh.

  • Close your shower curtain after a shower to help it dry out
  • Squeegee the tiled surfaces and glass after a shower to remove excess water
  • Open any windows while your showering to prevent excessive moisture buildup.
  • Keep your bathroom door cracked open if you don’t have any windows
  • Don’t use a vinyl shower curtain. Replace it with something nicer that doesn’t attract mold like washable cotton, hemp, or even a nylon shower curtain.
  • Add air fresheners, essential oils, or candles to your bathroom routine.
  • Mop hard floors regularly to keep them clean.

⭐ Final Thoughts On Why My Bathroom Smells Musty

Phyxter Approved Logo on Service Truck

Musty bathroom odors can be a nuisance, but they are easily preventable with the proper knowledge and tools.

By regularly cleaning bathroom surfaces, running bathroom fans, and doing everything we listed above, you’ll have your bathroom smell fresh and clean again!

If your bathroom smells musty despite all these efforts, it might be time to seek professional help.

Don’t let pesky odors take over your bathroom – use our guide today to keep your home smelling pleasant!

Want to learn more about your home’s plumbing system? Feel free to check out our other plumbing articles.

Related Reading: DIY Guide to 15 Common Plumbing Problems & Solutions

Russell Jones

Russell, a native Australian and VP of Operations at Phyxter Home Services, is also part-owner of Vernon Air Conditioning, Plumbing, and Electrical Services. When he's not busy with work projects and renovations, Russell enjoys putting his vast knowledge of home improvement to good use by sharing his tips and tricks.

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Phyxter (pronounced Fix-ter) is a national home services brand specializing in Residential HVAC, Electrical and Plumbing solutions.

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