When you walk down the stairs to your basement, a strong smell hits your nostrils. The smell is powerful, damp and musty.

Why does your basement smell like this? The answer to that is moisture and fungus. Your nose can pick up that the air feels denser in the basement because the area is wet. It can also pick up on the smell of mould and mildew. These fungal problems thrive in moist environments.

The good news is that you don’t have to live with this musty smell forever. You can get rid of it! Read this simple guide to see how you can eliminate that flooded basement smell for good.

And where does NTL Contracting come in? We can help you avoid having a wet basement in Toronto! With our specialized services, you can prevent this problem from showing up again!

Why Does Your Basement Have This Problem?

You understand that moisture, mould and mildew are the culprits behind this unpleasant basement smell. But what you’re not sure about is why your basement is dealing with these problems in the first place? There are two possible causes: flooding and moisture intrusion.


Have you dealt with a basement flood recently? Then, it’s likely that the floodwater seeped into your basement flooring, walls and surrounding furniture. If you didn’t clean up and dry these areas thoroughly after the flood, they became the perfect breeding grounds for mould and mildew, causing that flooded basement smell.

Moisture Intrusion

Moisture has seeped into your basement through vulnerabilities like cracks in the foundation and gaps around windows. One clue that the issue is coming from moisture intrusion is that the house smells musty after rain — this means that rainwater is finding its way inside of your basement.

The biggest problem with moisture intrusion is that it is much harder to spot than a basement flood. Other than a distinctive odour, here are some other signs to look out for:

  • Chipping or bubbling paint on walls
  • Peeling wallpaper
  • Cracks in the basement walls
  • Efflorescence (white powder on concrete)

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How to Get Rid of the Flooded Basement Smell?

Flooding can cause more water damage than water intrusion — and it can create this damage in a short amount of time. So, if you don’t want that flooded basement smell to show up after the mess is gone, you should react quickly. The quicker you react, the better chance you have to eliminate the problem before it even starts.

Get Rid of the Water

The first step for tackling a flood is to get rid of the standing water. You can do this using a wet and dry vacuum. After you’ve vacuumed most of the water, go over the area with a wet mop. If you have carpeting, you should rip it out so that you can reach the flooring beneath it and help it dry out.

Before you jump into the floodwater, make sure that it’s safe to do so. Your home’s electrical power should be shut off. You should be wearing protective clothing so that your bare skin doesn’t touch potentially contaminated water.

Dry It Out

The basement will still be wet at this stage, even after the standing water is gone. You will need to do your best to dry it out. This process will take a day or two.

During the warmer times of the year, you can open up the windows and doors to increase the basement’s ventilation. During the colder months, this won’t be available as an option. Instead, you can use electric fans to dry out the dampest areas of the room or dehumidifiers to draw the moisture out of the air.

Wash Everything

You’re going to want to give your basement walls, fixtures and floors a thorough clean. This will get rid of any dirt and bacteria carried by the floodwater.

These actions should get the moisture levels under control and keep mould and mildew from growing.

What If It’s Too Late?

It’s too late. The smell is already there. So, what will take that smell out of a flooded basement area?

First, you should try to tackle the moisture levels in the basement with the help of a dehumidifier. Then, if you can spot any small patches of mould, you can clean it up using a combination of warm water and dish detergent. Remember to wear an N95 mask when you do this chore. Breathing in spores can be unsafe, especially when you have a mould allergy.

And if you’re wondering how to get the mildew smell out of a flooded basement, you can use undiluted white vinegar. Vinegar is an excellent disinfectant that you might have sitting in your kitchen cabinet already.

Credit: Lukas via Pexels

How Can You Avoid Water Damage?

It’s not enough to clean up and get rid of that flooded basement smell. If you want to keep the smell at bay, you’re going to have to take preventative actions! This is where NTL Contracting can help you.

Flood Prevention

If you’ve undergone a basement flood, you will want to make sure that it never happens again. So, what can we do to help you?

First, we can improve your home’s drainage systems to reroute water away from your foundation and keep floodwaters from forcing their way through your plumbing. We can do this by installing a sump pump, clearing underground drains and adding a backwater valve. Click here to learn about the rebates for waterproofing that you can take advantage of!

Second, our excavation contractors in Toronto can stop water from pooling around your foundation by adjusting the grading of your yard. If your yard slopes toward your home, rainwater will rush toward it. We can rectify that by changing the slope’s direction.

Moisture Intrusion

If moisture intrusion was the root cause of your basement smell, then waterproofing is essential for keeping it from showing up all over again. Our waterproofing services like foundation crack filling and vapour barrier installation can stop water from seeping indoors. This will keep the moisture levels in your basement low, which should stop mould and mildew from growing.

You shouldn’t have to wrinkle your nose every time you walk down into your basement. So, call NTL Contracting to help you keep the moisture out and keep your basement smelling great.