Posted on August 27, 2007 by
Last week in comments, Corinne asked the following:
I’m wondering if you have any eco-friendly ideas for freshening up a smelly basement. We have two cats and although we scoop their litter daily and have a dehumidifier in the basement, it still stinks! I would like to do yoga down there, but I can’t stand that “basement smell”. Any ideas?
This is an excellent question. Most basements have that musty basement smell to some degree. Unfortunately, most commercial air fresheners and deodorizers contain petrochemicals that can be irritating to your skin, eyes, and airways. And while they seem to work for a time, most don’t actually remove the odor, they just mask it.
I recommend a multi-tiered approach.
Launder any fabrics or cushions you have in the basement, as those tend to retain smells, and try giving any sealed surfaces a scrub with a green all purpose cleaner.
Fill old (clean, obviously) yogurt containers or jars with baking soda, punch holes in the top and place them around your basement. The baking soda will absorb odors and moisture. You’ll have to change the baking soda every few months, but you can use the old baking soda for cleaning or unclogging drains. You can also try using activated charcoal or coffee grounds the same way.
While you’re waiting for the baking soda to do it’s job, soak cotton balls or old swatchs of fabric in your favorite essential oil and place around your basement. You can also check your kitchen for vanilla, clove, or peppermint oil to use instead.
If the kitty litter is a source of odor, try adding Mrs. Meyers Pet Litter Deodorizer.
If you have a sump pump in your basement, you may want to check to make sure that the water empties completely from the sump pump hole. Standing water in there can be a source of odor.
And if you have finished walls in your basement, you might want to consider a fresh coat of paint. Fresh paint can do wonders for a musty room.
Hope this helps!
Do you have a green question you’d like answered? Email me at alliesanswers at gmail dot com.