Why Your Mobile Home Smells Like Mildew & How To Fix It

Ever walk in your front door after being away and feel like your home smells strange? Whether it’s after a vacation or just a few days out of town, sometimes a little time away can reveal to us our home’s smell. Maybe our homes simply have harmless, distinctive smells that usually escape our notice because we’ve gotten used to them. However, some of you may find that when you walk in your front door the smell that hits you is distinctive and, well, unpleasant. And your experience and sensory detective work reveal what it is: your mobile home smells like mildew.

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Permit us to introduce…

You’re probably not feeling too friendly towards the culprit in this situation. Yet, we suggest you set aside your frustration just long enough to meet the source of the problem that your mobile home smells like mildew. But just who (or what) is this offender?

Who and what?

When it comes to a formal, dictionary-definition, we find that mildew is “a superficial usually whitish growth produced especially on organic matter or living plants by fungi (as of the families Erysiphaceae and Peronosporaceae).” Still, in case that definition is a little unapproachable, how about a more user-friendly explanation from Caroline Shannon-Karasik on HGTV.com? She says, “Mildew is a surface fungi that can easily be identified as a patch of gray or even white fungus that is lying on the surface of a moist area.”

Now that we know what it is, here’s another question you might be asking.

Where to look when your mobile home smells like mildew

If you’ve smelled the mildew, but you haven’t seen it, it might be time for some hunting. Call it what you will – investigating, searching, inspecting – it may be an inglorious task that involves getting down on your hands and knees.

Here are some areas that could be to blame when your mobile home smells like mildew.

Shower and bathtub

  • Leaky or sweaty pipes whether it’s under your home, under kitchen and bathroom sinks, or around toilets
  • Cabinets that have had pipes leak in them previously (cabinet floor under bathroom or kitchen sink, for instance)
  • Leaks in tub or shower areas
  • Underneath flooring
  • Around windows (especially if condensation often builds up on/around them)
  • Around tubs and toilets (including under surrounding flooring)
  • Ceilings in bathrooms (above the shower or other areas)

And, remember, once you locate mildew, don’t immediately call off the search. There could be other areas that need attention so keep looking.

How to proceed

When you do find mildew, what’s the course of action? Maybe you’re thinking the next step is to hit the panic button or to be completely grossed out, but don’t worry. Of course, doing nothing about the problem is also not the next step.

Here are some actions you can take if you’ve discovered leaks outside or inside or you’ve isolated the source of the mildew smell.

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Stop the leaks

Obviously, if pipe leaks have contributed to your mildew problem, you’ll want to fix the pipes (or have them fixed by a professional). Once you do this, give the area time to dry out before moving on to the cleanup.

Problems under the mobile home

If the source of your mildew smell is the underside of your mobile home, you may want to consider covering the ground underneath. Also, you may find you need to vent the underside of a skirted mobile home, too.  

Cleanup time!

Now, once you know where the mildew is, it’s time to tackle it. Depending on your cleaning preferences, we’re going to recommend two options.

DIY homemade liquid cleaner in brown bottles

Hit it with bleach

So, for the first method, grab bleach, water, and a scrub or sponge of some type. Make a half and half mix of bleach and water. Use it to scrub the affected area, making sure to adequately ventilate the area where you’re working. You may also want to opt for a face mask and rubber gloves.

Tackle it with vinegar

If using bleach isn’t your preference or you don’t have any available, you could also go for vinegar. And if you do opt for vinegar, let it rest on the mildewy surface for a while before scrubbing.

Where to go from here

Going forward, keep an eye out for mildew and try to catch it early. Also, keep your eyes peeled for leaks so that you can prevent situations that could produce mildew. Plus, you might consider investing in a dehumidifier to help you keep the humidity level in your mobile home low.

If you’ve been able to nail down the source of the undesirable stench in your mobile home, now it’s time to tackle the problem. Understandably, when your mobile home smells like mildew, you’d like to take matters in hand. Once you’ve washed it down, aired it out, and made plans to keep tabs on the issue, you may want to move on to any other sources that are creating unpleasant smells in your mobile home. For instance, let us help you get a handle on smelly issues created by your much-loved dogs or cats.   

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