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Why Does My Bathroom Smell Musty? See What An Expert Says

This article is for informational purposes. Always seek the advice of qualified professionals.

Bathrooms are a necessity that we can’t live without. We use them for our most intimate and important duties. So, when something bad smells out of our bathrooms it means there is a problem.

Have you ever went to your bathroom and asked yourself why does my bathroom smell musty?

If yes, then you’re in the right place as we’re here with our guide on this topic. After reading this article, you’ll everything from why it happens and how you can remove it. 

So, why wait? Let’s start. 

Why Does My Bathroom Smell Musty?

As people use a huge amount of water in their bathrooms, it can lead to a significantly humid environment. Moreover, the usage of hot water plays a big role here. 

For this reason, it’s quite difficult to keep the air and surfaces of your bathroom dry. Although, the main culprit behind this musty smell is mold and mildew.

Before discussing the reasons you should know what a musty smell feels like. You see, when people say they smell something musty, they refer to mildew smell. 

Mildew often smells like wet socks, rotten wood, or paper. You see, mildew can go away after you’ve ventilated the area. However, if it stays it means that you have a case of mold.

Now, let’s discuss the reasons. 

Mold and Mildew

Mold and mildew are sneaky little things that grow behind the walls and cabinets of your toilet. Basically these things can grow anywhere from your shower curtains to your tile grout. 

These things not only smell bad but they can also be harmful to your health. Mold can cause you headaches, sinus problems, fatigue, and other respiratory issues. 

The worst part is when mold is somewhat disturbed, the spores can get airborne. If it somehow gets airborne it can cause even severe problems. But most importantly, it’ll spread to other rooms of your house. 

Other Reasons

Sometimes there’s a musty smell in your bathroom and you won’t find any mold or mildew. This means that there are other culprits behind the problem. 

So, the first thing you’d want to do is, check the areas in your bathroom that are often unnoticed, such as the toilet tank.

Toilet tanks can be the perfect growing space for mold and mildew. Although, the lime deposits can also be the reason as they can make the tank dirty.

Also, you should check the toilet bowl. Sometimes we totally ignore the brown stain in the bottom of the toilet bowl. We should clean it in order to get rid of musty smell.

How to Get Rid of Musty Smell?

Your bathroom needs proper care. You use them for quite intimate and essential work, so you get why it needs to be cleaned regularly. 

However, if you somehow get a musty smell in your bathroom, here’s how you can get rid of it.


Vinegar can be a wonderful thing to get rid of the musty smell in your bathroom. The best thing about vinegar is, you can find it almost anywhere.

  1. First of all, get a sponge or a clean rag soaked in vinegar. Then, apply the sponge or rag on the affected you see mold or mildew.
  2. Although, you can fill up a spray bottle with and then spray on the areas. Both methods work, so do whatever you feel comfortable.
  3. After you’ve let it sit for a few hours, you’ll need to scrub the areas with a sponge. You can also use a toothbrush if you want.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is a great essential oil to get rid of any kind of fungus. You can use it instead of vinegar. 

Many people don’t like the smell of vinegar, so tea tree oil is a good alternative for them. Well, it’s not that tea tree oil doesn’t have any strong smell, but it’s a lot better than vinegar.

  1. First, put some tea tree oil in a spray bottle and mix it with water. 
  2. Now, spray some mixture on the affected areas. When spraying, make sure to reach every corner of the affected areas. 
  3. You need to let the solution sit for an hour or two. After that, scrub the areas with a sponge. 

Essential Oil

You can use essential oils for removing any kind of bad smell. They will get rid of the bad smell and spread a wonderful scent. 

So, you need to spray on some essential oils after the vinegar or tea tree oil’s been scrubbed away.

  1. Mix some grapefruit seed extract with water. Now, put the mixture in spray bottle.
  2. Finally, spray the solution on the affected areas to minimize the smell of vinegar. 

You see, this solution will not only minimize the smell but it’ll also enhance the vinegar’s capability to remove any mold or mildew.

How to Prevent Musty Smell?

Now that you’ve removed the musty smell, it’s time to take measures so that they don’t come back. Here are a few effective measures.

Clean Regularly

Dirt and moisture are like food for mold and mildew. So, always keep your tub, sink, and shower completely clean. If there are any electric devices in the bathroom, take proper covering on that. 

Use Proper Ventilation

You see, your exhaust fans do more than removing any unwanted smell. They keep the moisture out of your bathroom. So, use the exhaust fan every time you use the bathroom.

However, if you don’t have an exhaust fan, make sure to keep the windows open at all times.

Install Dehumidifiers

Installing dehumidifiers can work great for preventing any kind of mold or mildew. You see, these things can’t grow when the humidity level is low.

Keep the Bathroom Dry

It may sound like some extra work, but trust me, it’s the most effective way to remove any excess water or soap scum. 

Simply use a old and dry towel for doing the job and you’ll be well off.


Well, that’s all we had to say to mold or mildew smell. So, the next time someone asks you, why does my bathroom smell musty? You’ll know everything about it. 

Before wrapping things up, we have a quick piece of advice for you. If the mold situation in your bathroom is too severe, it’s better to call a trained professional. You shouldn’t handle any extreme situations as mold is quite harmful to your health. 

Good luck!