How to Remove Water Damage Odor

Every now and then you face water damage in your house because you end up with a large number of problems associated with it. When water goes through structural cracks of your property and then it creates confined blockages of saturation. There are several possible reasons behind water damage which include:

  • Clogged toilets
  • Leakage of dishwashers
  • Broken pipes
  • Overflow of washing machines
  • Broken dishwasher hoses
  • Leaked roofs
  • Foundation cracks
  • Plumbing leaks
  • Other natural causes of water damage can be floods, heavy snow and rain which can lead to having water in basements.

If this problem is not detected promptly it can lead to damage. This damage, at a minimum, can lead to development of stringent odors. However, greater damage can surface when moisture resides within materials causing deterioration, which will require costly repairs. Through timely response and the careful inspection of water damage, a lot of health issues can be prevented. Water damage ignites the growth of mold if it persists for too long which is the reason of unpleasant odors. The damage may be imperceptibly slow and minor such as water spots but the odors eventually surface all around the affected area. You can try eliminating these odors yourself or call in professionals who are trained and experienced in identifying the sources of moisture, evaluating mold growth (observable or hidden) and then remove the contamination. Drying all those materials that were affected by water damage is necessary to stop long term damage that leads to nasty smells.

Never take these strange odors lightly because from small broken pipe leaks to large-scale natural disasters, any type of water damage can jeopardize your health if you don’t deal with it immediately. If you experience a flood in your home, you will feel an unpleasant odor thriving in the vicinity of your house. There are two main types of water damage odor, each of which occurs shortly after a fire or flood in your home. The first develops anywhere from 24 to 48 hours after the initial incident and can leave a rank odor in your home. The next type of water damage smell comes soon thereafter and is highly hazardous because it results from the growth of mold and mildew. This secondary water damage can be very treacherous for your house because it not only destroys your property’s construction, but also poses health risks for you and your family.

If these odors are trapped indoors they can cause allergies, asthma, and other respiratory problems. If you smell a musty odor, then your indoor humidity is likely too high igniting existing bronchitis, asthma, respiratory infections, and allergic rhinitis (swelling of nasal passage with running nose and maybe congestion as well). You and your family can find difficulty in breathing leading to wheezing, coughing, and other upper respiratory symptoms.

Removing Water Damage Odor from the Source

One of the best ways to get rid of this water damage odor from your house is to eliminate its source. Water damage odor results when bacteria consumes the waste that mold and mildew produces as it grows on moist floorings or ceilings. A byproduct of this interchange is ammonia, which produces a musty odor. If mold, mildew, and spores develop in your home due to water damage, the best thing to do is to get rid of those conditions in your home that stimulate their growth. You can find a number of antimicrobial sprays that are very practical and effective as they not only remove the odor but also kill the bacteria and mold that cause it. If the room is dry but there still is a musty smell all around it, you can use a malodorous compound, which helps in neutralizing the odor. These are available at most hardware or home supply stores but you should always consult a professional before applying them so that they are not misused.

Minimize the Growth of Fungi that causes Water Damage Odor

As mentioned above, water damage odor develops usually in warm conditions where the moisture becomes a habitat for microorganisms. You can dry out any water-damaged area thoroughly by using a combination of dehumidifiers and air-moving machines. If the water damage has spread all around the house then you might need to use industrial-strength machines for the drying process. Dehumidifiers pull moisture out of the air in the surrounding area, and can drastically decrease the development of mold or other water damage odors whereas air-moving machines help with evaporation and circulation of air, further reducing the growth of mold and its subsequent odor.

Home remedies to remove Water Damage

  • Open all the doors and windows in your home so that there is better ventilation and circulation of air in the house. You can use undiluted white vinegar to kill the growing mold which is the major contributor of that musty odor. If any part of your house is wet and the moisture content is high then try vacuuming it thoroughly. Carpet fibers trap moisture, which ultimately leads to growth of mold and mildew letting off an unpleasant musty odor. Use ceiling fans or point pedestal fans in the direction of the carpet to help dry it out.
  • Another thing you can try is sprinkling baking soda on dried carpeting. Use a broom to spread baking soda onto the carpet and leave it on the carpet for at least one whole night. Later on remove the baking soda by vacuuming it up.
  • Put all washable items that are affected by the water damage into the laundry such as clothing, carpeting and curtains. Then add 2 cups of white vinegar into the washer’s drum. The vinegar will get rid of the smell of water damage and will also kill mold and mildew.
  • Empty the basement or other living areas that contain the stringent smell, clean each item individually with a mixture of 1 cup chlorine bleach diluted in 1 gallon of water. After this process dry the item completely and allow to air out.
  • Purchase a foam carpet shampoo at your local drug store but before applying it to the carpet vacuum it thoroughly then spread it and rub it generously over the carpet with a sponge. Then let the carpet sit for at least 20 minutes to dry and then vacuum it off again in the end.
  • Hydrogen peroxide can also be applied to odor-filled areas but it is better to check a small area first to ensure that it does not decolorize the carpet.
  • You can also use a steam cleaner to remove any moisture that leads to these odors.

Hiring a Professional to Remove Water Damage Odor

If the water damage seems uncontrollable you should call in a professional to handle it, as an unsuitable treatment or removal can lead to further damage in the future. Professionals have years of experience and access to special tools and equipment specially designed to remove odors and restore your home quickly and efficiently. Going way beyond simple carpet shampooing or using dehumidifiers these professionals can perform deep-down extraction that can actually improve the smell and the quality of the air you breathe.

These odors can be removed, and the time and effort will depend largely on the type and intensity of the odor. If the odor is strong, be prepared to use several applications and repeat the ones that work. Persistence is key! When possible, adding fresh air always helps to expedite the process.
Prevention is always better than spending a whole lot of cash so the best way to deal with water damage odor is to prevent it from happening in the first place by keeping the area dry and circulating the air in your house.


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