It’s true to say that we often smell the effects of damp before we actually see them. A musty or dusty smell is often one of the first tell-tale signs that we have a damp problem. This is especially true in rooms that are more prone to moisture and humidity. For example, the kitchen or bathroom.
Mould caused by damp can create a range of health problems, Including severe respiratory conditions. It also exacerbates allergies. Mould can be particularly dangerous for vulnerable groups. These include babies, the elderly, or those with underlying health conditions.
Can damp smell like urine? Certain types of mould caused by damp have a smell likened to urine. More specifically cat urine. This includes black mould which can be particularly dangerous. Bear in mind that a smell of cat urine does not always mean you have damp. Some common plants give off a similar odour. Plus, there is also a chance that the previous owner of your property had cats.
A cat urine smell caused by damp, often emits when moisture meets wooden floors. Fortunately, if the urine odour smell is damp-related, it’s easy to deal with. First, remove the mould. You also need to take remedial action to address the causes of the damp itself. Following this there are some steps you can take to reduce the urine-like smell.
Addressing the cause of the smell
Damp and mould are caused by excess moisture. Moisture in buildings can be caused by rising damp in basements or ground floors. It could also be penetrating damp when rain seeps in because of damage to the roof or around window frames. Establish that the issue is not due to rising damp or penetrating damp. This leaves one other potential culprit – condensation.
Condensation is caused when the air indoors cannot hold any more moisture. Cooking, showering and drying clothes indoors all create humidity. Without adequate ventilation, excess moisture occurs.
Taking some simple steps can help reduce the build-up of condensation. Drying washing outside, whenever possible, is always helpful. Putting lids on saucepans, putting the fan on and opening a window when cooking is another top tip. Close the door to prevent moisture spreading throughout the house.
When you are not cooking, leave doors open. This will improve air circulation. Open windows and ventilate rooms for 15 minutes every day.
The trick is to allow a clean flow of air throughout the house on a daily basis. Even in the coldest winter months, it’s important to let some fresh air in on a daily basis.
Keep up with these measures. If you stop doing them, you reduce the ventilation around the home again. This runs the risk of excess moisture occurring. This, in turn, will lead to the build-up of condensation. This is what causes mould to develop. With it comes the unpleasantness of the associated smells.
It’s best to call in a professional to take a look in some cases. For example, if these simple steps don’t do the trick. Or if you can’t locate the source of the smell.
How to remove mould
Once you have identified and treated the causes of moisture in the home you can get rid of the mould. Remember, it is the mould that is most likely to be the source of the unpleasant smell. In many cases, you will be able to remove the mould yourself. However, there are cases when you need to get a professional to remove it.
You can remove mould caused by condensation covering an area of less than 1 metre squared. If the mould covers a larger area, or if it has been caused by other factors, it’s best to call the professionals in.
Wear goggles, a mask and rubber gloves. This will protect you from harmful mould spores. You should keep doors closed to stop spores spreading. In the affected room, open the windows to improve the ventilation.
Fill a bucket with water and mild detergent. Use a cloth dipped in the bucket to wipe the mould from the wall. Don’t brush the mould as this can release the dangerous spores. Once you have finished wiping the mould away, use a dry cloth to remove the moisture from the wall. Any mouldy soft furnishings, soft toys and clothes should be removed and cleaned. Clean all surfaces in the room by wiping. Vacuum the floor to remove any mould spores. Put all cloths in a plastic bag and discard.
How to get rid of the smell of damp in a room
Removing the mould from a room is the first step. This will address the source of the smell in the room. Remedial action also needs to be taken to address the cause of the condensation. But the smell won’t disappear straightaway. It tends to linger. You should follow these steps to get rid of the smell. You will need a spray container filled with a solution of diluted white vinegar (1 part water to 1 part vinegar). As well as this, you need a cloth, bicarbonate of soda and a good cleaning product.
If there is a wardrobe in the room, you should smell the clothes. The unpleasant damp smell often transfers to clothes. Wash clothes on a warm cycle. Add a cup of diluted vinegar solution to your normal laundry detergent. Repeat the process for any fabrics in the room, from curtains and bed linens to towels and cushions.
If the damp appears to be coming from the walls, look for any patches of damp. Gently scrub with a cloth. Dissolve a little baking soda into warm water to make the cleaning agent more powerful. If the problem is substantial, you will need to use a specialist mould treatment. When doing so, it’s always important to test the product out on a small area first. This prevents potential damage from occurring.
Scrub mould on bathroom grouting. You can even leave a cup of baking soda into the likes of ovens and fridges. This will help dissipate the smell. Similarly, you can clean out your washing machine by running a rinse cycle. Add a little baking soda.
Key takeaways – Dealing with the smell of urine
Remember that a lingering smell akin to cat urine is often an indicator of damp and mould in the home. More often than not, this is caused by condensation. You should follow these steps:
1. Address the issue of condensation. Improve ventilation around the home.
2. Remove the mould from the affected area.
3. Take steps to remove the smell.