TikTok's Top Tips To Eliminate That Musty Smell In Your Basement

Nobody likes a smelly basement. Whether you use yours as an extension of the rest of your home, or it's just a creepy place where you're forced to do laundry from time to time, an unpleasant odor can make you want to spend time anywhere else. Basements are prone to musty smells for a variety of reasons, in part because they are more prone to floods, leaks, and trapped moisture as they are built underground, and because they often don't have much ventilation. Even if your basement has never been flooded or is recently refinished, you may still notice that unpleasant, stale aroma lingering around, and air fresheners can only do so much to mask the problem. 

To help eliminate these foul odors, we turned to TikTok to see what tips actually work to defeat musty basement smells. We found that the top tips were classic DIY solutions like baking soda and vinegar and buying specialty deodorizing products such as Odoban and Puroclenz. In addition to finding these solutions, we also delved into why (and why not) you might want to try these techniques to solve your own smelly basement problem. 

Before you try to neutralize these odors, do be sure to check your basement for any possible mold, mildew, any other issues. These can continue to produce nasty scents, making your deodorizing attempts useless. 

Go classic with vinegar and baking soda

If you spend any time at all looking for DIY, eco-friendly, easy cleaning product recipes, you are sure to see two ingredients come up over and over again: baking soda and vinegar. That's for good reason, and they were definitely a favorite of TikTok users. These two substances do have major odor elimination abilities, but work very differently. 

Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a scentless, alkaline substance. When baking soda mingles with acidic malodors, the smell is neutralized. On the other hand, vinegar is acidic, and can neutralize smelly alkaline volatile compounds floating around. Using both of them can ensure all bad smells, acidic, alkaline, and in between, are eliminated. We saw videos on TikTok going for either baking soda or white vinegar, but they can also be used as a team. But before you clean with a mixture of vinegar and baking soda, it's important to know that when combined, they just neutralize each other, so be sure to apply them in rounds. 

To get rid of musty basement smells with baking soda and vinegar, dust baking soda all along the floor of the basement first. You should allow it to sit undisturbed for at least 24 hours so it has plenty of time to work its magic. After, sweep or vacuum the baking soda up. Then, spray vinegar diluted with water around the room to neutralize any remaining stinky particles. 

Try a commercial deodorizer

DIY odor-neutralizers are all well and good, but sometimes you need to bring in the big dogs and head to the hardware store for some help. One product that gained traction on TikTok is PuroClenz, which is a product that targets odors left behind by mold, pets, cigarettes, and more. To use it, you simply put an PuroClenz tablet in a cup or bucket of water in the basement, ensuring all the doors and windows are closed. 

According to the website, PuroClenz only needs about two hours to off-gas and kill any unpleasant odors. You can turn on the AC or a fan, or use a bubbler (as seen in the video above) to help the product circulate throughout the basement. This solution is great if you have carpet and furniture you can't remove for the cleaning process, as it neutralizes through the air. The amount of the product you order depends on the size of the basement you're trying to remove odors from, so pay attention to this information on the site. 

Another TikTok tip called on OdoBan, an odor eliminator and disinfectant brand. This formula comes in several versions, such as Odoban's upholstery-friendly disinfecting spray as well as air freshening sprays, floor cleaners, and more. They also have a small Odor Absorber, but it is recommended for smaller spaces such as closets and trash cans. However, you could buy several and scatter them around the basement to make a bigger impact.