6 Methods: How to Get Rid of Crawl Space Odor

August 18, 2023

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Knowing how to get rid of crawl space odor is vital for structures with pier and beam foundations. Crawl spaces tend to trap moisture that risks wood rot, mold, and other unpleasant issues. That moisture and its resultant odors can then make their way into your home’s interior spaces!

How to get rid of crawl space odor:

  1. Address reasons for excessive moisture
  2. Improve ventilation
  3. Remove mold and mildew
  4. Clean and remove debris regularly
  5. Address pest infestations
  6. Use odor absorbers

This is just a quick overview to the question, how to get rid of crawl space odor? Knowing more about these and other vital tips can ensure a clean crawl space under your home. Also, a foundation repair contractor can advise on how to keep that space clean and dry for years to come.


how to get rid of crawl space odor

How to Get Rid of Crawl Space Odor Under Your Home

Getting rid of crawl space odor involves identifying and addressing the underlying causes of the smell. Crawl space odors can be caused by various factors, including moisture, mold, pests, and poor ventilation. Here are steps you can take to eliminate crawl space odors:

Inspect for Moisture and Water Issues

Check for any signs of water intrusion or leaks in the crawl space. Address any sources of moisture promptly, such as fixing plumbing leaks or improving drainage around the foundation. Your foundation repair contractor might suggest installing a French drain system or sump pump, to keep the crawl space dry.

Improve Ventilation

Ensure that the crawl space has proper ventilation to prevent moisture buildup. If the crawl space is damp and lacks ventilation, consider installing vents.

You can also use a mechanical ventilation system to improve air circulation. The better the air circulation, the drier the space! Dry spaces mean less risk of rot, mold, and other concerns that create bad odors. You can also opt for a crawl space vapor barrier!

Address Mold and Mildew

If you detect mold or mildew in the crawl space, address this quickly. Clean and remove mold using appropriate cleaning products. Also, consider applying a mold-resistant coating to crawl space fixtures and surfaces, to prevent its return.

musty smell - crawl space smells of mold

Clean and Remove Debris

Since crawl spaces are often open to the home’s exterior, it’s not unusual for them to collect trash and debris. Homeowners might also store items there and then forget about them! In turn, they can rot or decay, leading to foul odors.

To combat this, remove any debris, trash, or organic materials from the crawl space regularly. If you store items in the space, check them regularly for needed cleaning or maintenance. Ensure that you use heavy-duty tubs and bins as well! This can help avoid rot and deterioration that risks bad smells.

Address Pest Infestations

If pests are contributing to the odor, address the infestation. Seal entry points and use appropriate pest control methods to prevent them from returning. Also, removing debris regularly can help avoid this issue year-round.

free inspection - pest infestation

Use Odor Absorbers

Place odor absorbers or natural deodorizers in the crawl space to help neutralize smells. Baking soda, activated charcoal, or commercial odor-absorbing products are effective. Ensure that you replace these as instructed by the manufacturer.


pier and beam encapsulation

How Do I Get Fresh Air In My Crawl Space?

Getting fresh air into your crawl space prevents moisture buildup, reducing the risk of mold and odors. This also helps maintain a healthier environment. Here are steps you can take to ensure proper ventilation and fresh air circulation in your crawl space:

  • Crawl space vents are designed to allow air to flow in and out of the crawl space. Place these strategically around the perimeter of the crawl space to promote cross-ventilation. In areas with high humidity, have at least one vent for every 150 square feet of crawl space.
  • If your crawl space doesn’t have sufficient natural airflow, consider installing mechanical ventilation systems. These include exhaust fans and dehumidifiers, which help regulate air circulation and humidity levels.
  • Consider opening crawl space vents during dry and mild seasons to allow fresh air to enter. Close them during wet or cold seasons to prevent moisture intrusion.
  • Install vent covers along your crawl space. This allows you to control airflow and moisture entry, especially during varying weather conditions.
  • Install a vapor barrier on the crawl space floor to help prevent moisture from rising into the space. A vapor barrier can also contribute to better air quality. Also, full-scale encapsulation repels water and pests, also keeping the crawl space free of bad odors.
  • If you notice standing water in the crawl space, address the drainage issue promptly. Standing water can increase humidity and prevent proper ventilation.

Proper ventilation in the crawl space is essential for maintaining a dry and healthy environment. By following these steps and considering the specific climate conditions in your area, you can effectively ensure that fresh air circulates through your crawl space, helping to prevent moisture-related issues.

crawl space smell after

Is It Normal for a Crawl Space to Smell?

A slight musty smell in a crawl space can be normal, especially if the area lacks proper ventilation and moisture control. However, strong, foul, or persistent odors typically indicate underlying issues that need fixing. Check out some common reasons why a crawl space might smell and what you can do about it:

  • Excess moisture in a crawl space can lead to mold growth, which can produce a musty odor. If the crawl space lacks proper ventilation and moisture control, mold can thrive and contribute to unpleasant smells.
  • Inadequate ventilation can lead to stagnant air in the crawl space, which can cause odors to linger and worsen over time.
  • Crawl spaces can attract pests like rodents, insects, and animals, which can contribute to foul odors.
  • If there’s debris, decaying leaves, or organic materials in the crawl space, they can emit unpleasant odors.
  • Plumbing leaks, drain backups, or sewer line issues can introduce foul odors from sewage into the crawl space.
  • Without proper air circulation, the air in the crawl space can become stagnant and produce musty smells.

While a mild musty smell might be considered normal due to the confined nature of crawl spaces, persistent and strong odors need attention. Regular inspections and maintenance help ensure a clean and odor-free crawl space.

A Word From Our Crew

Lansing Foundation Repair Experts is happy to explain how to get rid of crawl space odor. If you’re in the area, call our Lansing foundation repair contractors when you’re ready for expert services. We offer FREE inspections and quotes, so call today.

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