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Damp, mildewy smells - help please!!

(12 Posts)
RachelElise Mon 03-Oct-16 14:52:14

The short question here is: how can I stop the smell of mustiness and damp lurking around our kitchen/dining room? Is there an air purifying spray/cleaner/plug in that I can use? Dettol disinfectant spray? I can’t deal with the root of the problem right now (part of which is behind kitchen units) but we are renovating in 6 months so I’m hoping desperately that we can sort the issue out then. However that still leaves me with 6 months of Winter, during which we need to put up with encroaching damp and a musty smell… I have a 5 year old and 2 year old and hate the idea of them hanging out in a damp, musty place, it makes me feel like they are just breathing in sickness and mould. So much so I am becoming genuinely anxious and neurotic about it. The general mustiness is not overpowering, but it is noticeable.

Long explanation: Our kitchen and living room (2 separate rooms) are downstairs next to each other, kitchen is on ground level but living room is semi-lower ground – the bay window looks out into a light well with the ground level starting about three quarters of the way up. We have a variety of different types of damp in various areas of this level, but the bit that bothers me the most is what must be along the outside wall in the kitchen (which is behind and beside units so I simply can’t get to it!!), so a lovely musty smell just leaps out at me every time I open the larder and drawers. The food in the larder cupboard doesn’t appear to be very adversely affected by this (to the naked eye at least), although I did find a mouldy peanut the other day…. I have put the little damp traps under the kickboards that I can remove, and in the back of one of the drawers, and even at the bottom of the larder.

In the adjoining living room there is also just, general, undefined mustiness, I ventilate as much as possible, but with winter coming, and young children, this isn’t going to work for long. I suspect the problem is mildew in various places, even under the carpet so I was wondering if anyone could suggest a spray, an air purifier anything, that could help make it feel more sanitary for our living conditions…

I do use a dehumidifier for a night every fortnight or so, but I’m worried this is expensive, and quite frankly not much of a help if the issue is rising damp/lack of ventilation and mildew…. It will put out about 1litre of water from the whole LG floor in a night. Is that a lot???

Sorry MNetters, so boring a topic but one that is preying on my fragile psyche….

shovetheholly Tue 04-Oct-16 07:33:28

Oh gosh, I didn't want to read and run but don't have any brilliant advice. I was going to advise a dehumidifier, but see you have already tried that. I really just wanted to say, I'm sorry you're going through this - it will be fixed when you renovate! flowers

barefootbird Tue 04-Oct-16 12:03:47

What type of dehumidifier is it? I run an ebac constantly otherwise our house just smells damp and we start to get mold on the outside walls. It's quite a powerful machine and it does get emptied quite a lot in winter, I also use it for drying washing which it is actually great for so it's hard to tell which is washing water and which is from the damp.

You definitely notice the difference if it has been off for even a few days. Perhaps a more powerful machine left on all time may help? Our electric bill is high but it's better than putting up with the damp.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Tue 04-Oct-16 12:14:48

I think you're overestimating how much the dehumidifier costs to run. Obviously it will vary according to size but it probably won't be more than the price of a Starbucks coffee or two per week.

barefootbird Tue 04-Oct-16 13:16:28

...I should have added, there are several other reasons for our high electricity bill!

Twinchaos1 Tue 04-Oct-16 21:35:34

We have lived in damp houses in the past and ran a dehumidifier all the time. The cost of running it was less than a tumble drier and it really helped. My sister is now using the same machine in her house.

sonias27 Thu 06-Oct-16 08:17:09

I would give Unibonds Humidity Absorber. That should get rid of the mildew smell.

StrawberryStar Thu 06-Oct-16 08:27:31

I agree with pp, the cost of a dehumidifier is well worth keeping the damp down. We got ours as a temporary measure when we had damp and we use it now to dry washing and in winter when I'm not in enough to air the house. My advice would be windows open in the day and dehumidifier on over night.

Kasparprinceofthieved Thu 06-Oct-16 08:36:00

My rental house is damp and smells mildewy too ... Could someone link to the best cheap dehumidifier recommended? I've tried the unibond ones, they make no difference really, my clothes still feel damp.

anotherbloodycyclist Thu 06-Oct-16 20:37:31

Meaco low energy 20l dehumidifier. It's cheap to run, and a which best buy. Not cheap at £250 but worth every penny. We run it constantly in our tanked ground floor, and it can be programmed to turn off when humidity reaches a certain level. I would think running a dehumidifier every two weeks will not be enough.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Thu 06-Oct-16 20:42:42

The most recent one I have bought is this one. It's fine. It has a humidistat so it only comes on when the humidity goes above a certain level.

RachelElise Wed 12-Oct-16 09:22:10

Thanks all - I'm looking into the dehumidifiers - ours is really old and is bit of a monster. might be time to upgrade.... The Meaco looks good, anotherbloodycyclist, and is probably a lot cheaper run than ours. Plus, I tumble dry ALL THE TIME so a reduction in that will probably cancel out any dehumidifying cost.

We have started using the damp traps from Poundland and they are surprisingly good! very stable and so no spillage. I recommend.

At night I currently leave a window slightly open on one side of the house, and a vent open on the other for through draft - then have an oil rad on a timer to super heat the room in time for the littles to have their breakfast and morning CBeebies/getting dressed time (yes, we get dressed in the living room... all of us!) Not a sustainable system with colder weather on the way so dehumidifying it is!

I grew up in a very warm, temperate country so this is all a bit of a learning curve for me - It's reassuring to know that it's considered fairly standard to need to rectify such problems!

I am so looking forward to the renovations... well not really, they will probably be the most stressful 4 months of my life due to bullying neighbours and a kitchen being relocated to a spare room in the house but at least it's getting sorted and giving the old house a new lease of life, and health!

Thanks so much all

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