How to get rid of musty smells in hotel room

How To Get Rid of Musty Smells in Hotel Room? Dos and Don’ts!

How to get rid of musty smells in hotel room? Is this the question you would like to find the answer to? The smell of stale cigarettes, mold, and mildew wafting through your hotel room on the first day of your vacation can be enough to ruin the whole trip. What causes a musty smell?

What are the health risks associated with musty?

How to make your hotel room smell better? These are the questions that can arise in your mind so, here you can get the answers to all these. Not only that, but these smells can cause serious health issues if you breathe them all night long. Luckily, you can take steps to eliminate that musty smell from your hotel room so you can fully enjoy your vacation. Please keep reading my article to learn about the most common cause of that musty smell in hotel rooms and how to get rid of it!

How To Get Rid of Musty Smells in Hotel Room?

How to get rid of musty smells in hotel room

Following are some steps that must be taken to How To Get Rid of Musty Smells in Hotel Room.

1:Use an exhaust fan or open the windows  

Use an exhaust fan or window unit if you notice mildew on your bed linens. If the musty odor persists, air out the room for several hours and place fabric softener sheets all over the floor and beds (don’t put them near electronics). 

2: Clean air purifiers

One of the causes of musty smells in hotel rooms is the accumulation of humid air or moist carpet. To get rid of these odors, try using an air purifier. You can purchase a portable unit for your room or ask for one at the front desk, but if you don’t want to attract attention, you can use a mini HEPA filter and attach it to your vacuum cleaner.

Turn on the machine and walk around with it as you vacuum. Another popular solution for this problem is dryer sheets. For fragrance-free varieties, avoid scented brands because they will linger and negate the effect of eliminating musty smells from your room.

3: Use essential oils diffusers

Essential oils have a variety of functions: they can be used as aromatherapy, added to food and beverages, rubbed on the skin or bath water, placed on handkerchiefs, and even made into candles. For this reason, they are often one of the first things people reach for when trying to deodorize a musty room. A defuser is an electronic device that delivers these oils with negative ions into your hotel room’s air via a small tube or fan. The process works by filling the air with molecules from natural essential oils like lavender oil, citronella oil, or eucalyptus oil.

4: Use room sprays or fresheners

How to get rid of musty smells in hotel room

One common culprit for musty hotel rooms is a lack of air circulation. If you want to use something quick and easy, consider using a room spray or freshener. Following are some tips on how best to use these products: 

  • Choose one with an oil base so it will be more concentrated 
  • Spray the object instead of using cloths, which can rub off color and could create static electricity, attracting dust 
  • Look for formulas labeled as deodorizers or fresheners; they’re typically made with natural ingredients and have the less artificial scent

5: Use a dehumidifier

If you’ve been bothered by a musty smell in your hotel room, you may be happy to know the most common cause is a room full of thick water vapor. If it’s cold outside, moisture can’t escape through the windows, so it will just collect inside. To make matters worse, mold and mildew will develop quickly if there are leaks or spills in the room.

Finally, all the stale air can’t vent properly either. A dehumidifier (or air purifier) can help reduce the humidity level. If the problem persists, try opening windows for 10 minutes every day for an hour or two to let fresh air circulate. And remember: don’t turn on exhaust fans because they’ll suck up any residual moisture from wet carpeting and other materials but won’t do anything about dryness indoors.

6: Don’t smoke indoors

There are many reasons people should avoid smoking indoors:

  • It makes the air quality worse.
  • It can be expensive.
  • It usually means other people won’t want to hang out with you.

And one more reason: if you’re a smoker, your clothes, hair, and skin will all have a smoke smell on them after you’ve been outside for just a few minutes. The unpleasantness is only amplified when those clothes are next to your nose as you lay in bed. Luckily, there’s an easy fix. Hang up your clothes or drape them over the back of a chair so they don’t touch your face while you sleep (they’ll also dry faster).

You can also check out our other related article Why does levoit air purifier smells:

What is a musty smell in a hotel room?

You notice a musty smell when you first enter your hotel room, but it seems to disappear after a few minutes. You chalk it up to something you’ve eaten, but when you start unpacking and turn on the air conditioning, the scent hits you again. What’s going on? The smell likely comes from an indoor humidity issue because most hotels keep their air conditioners running 24/7 with short intervals for ventilation. This created moisture and increased mold levels and mildew growth within the air ducts and walls, leading to odors like mustiness.

What are the causes of the musty smell in a hotel room?

Following are some reasons for the musty smell in a hotel room. 

1: Moisture

Moisture is the common cause of musty odors in hotels is moisture in the building’s air supply system or from a wet room that has been closed up for some time. In these cases, cleaning the HVAC filter and fixing leaks can help eliminate musty smells in hotel rooms. If you smell something odd after using the room, or if housekeeping doesn’t seem to be addressing your concerns, ask them if they have done anything about these potential issues and when they last replaced filters or fixed any leaking areas.

2: NO ventilation

Unfortunately, hotel rooms often cannot let fresh air in and are suffocated by mold and mildew. Ventilation is necessary for health reasons and to help reduce the musty smell that builds up over time. Often, there is a noticeable difference when you walk into the room after it has been ventilated or if someone has left the window open or cracked. The benefits are nearly immediate. You can increase your chance of getting an upgrade on your next stay by requesting a room with access to a window (and letting it open)

3: Mold and mildew

If you’ve ever stayed at a hotel and noticed a musty smell, there’s a good chance it was caused by mold or mildew. While the mildew smell might be more evident if your sheets are damp, both can contribute to a pervasive smell in your room. Luckily, mildews usually don’t grow in dry climates, so the musty smell is likely from mold. 

To eliminate this issue, check for visible mold spots on the carpet or furniture before calling for an exterminator.

4: Dirty air filters

How to get rid of musty smells in hotel room

Dirty air filters may be the reason for the musty smell. The air filter removes particles from the air, like pet dander, allergens, and dust. All this can add up and create a musty smell or trigger allergies. Cleaning your air filter is one way to eliminate the odor immediately. If you’re staying at a hotel with central heating and cooling, check the filters on those too. They need periodic cleaning as well. You may also want to open windows for fresh air. 

5: Smoke

The most common cause of the musty smell in hotel rooms is smoke residue from cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products. When guests smoke these products indoors and leave the windows open or turn on the air conditioning (which blows outside air inside), all that fragrant, stale smoke gets mixed with the fresh air from outside. The result? Well, it’s not exactly pleasant.

6: Dust

Dust is the most likely culprit if you notice a musty smell in your hotel room. So the first and important thing you should do is start cleaning! And no, don’t think about skipping this step because you’re on vacation, and it’s someone else’s responsibility. Not only will good cleaning keep your room fresh for when you return, but it can also help eliminate any unpleasant smells or allergens that might be lingering around. Once your floor is clean and dust-free, ensure all surfaces are wiped down (tabletops, dressers, and TV sets).

7: Food

Many times the musty smell will be a result of food left behind by previous guests. If the scents are new, someone may have spilled something or had an animal stow away in the room. The next time you have to stay at a hotel, ensure you don’t leave anything behind but your clothes and toiletries. If a food spill occurs, promptly notify the front desk and request assistance.

8: Cleaning chemicals

If you’ve had a chance to use the common cleaning chemicals and other methods we listed for eliminating odors and still notice a musty smell, the musty smell may be coming from the room next door. To find out, try this experiment: use your towels or pillowcases as funnels (attach them with rubber bands) and place them over your mouth/nose at your side of the wall/partition dividing your hotel room from next door.

Breathe deeply, paying attention to any new odors. You can also test by using an old milk carton with a 1-inch hole cut in one end: hang it outside next door.

What are the health issues related to the musty smell

How to get rid of musty smells in hotel room

While the smell of mold is the most common culprit for musty smells, the truth is that there are many different things in a hotel room or other indoor environment that can lead to an unpleasant odor. The most common health issues are related to the musty smell.

1: Asthma symptoms

A musty smell can be caused by mildew and mold growth due to moisture. The musty smell can trigger asthma symptoms in those who suffer from this allergy. Mold spores are common causes of asthma symptoms, but they will typically only cause them if they’re inhaled with other types of airborne particles.

2: Allergies

The most common cause of the musty smell is allergies. Allergies can trigger a build-up of particles and oils, producing a musty odor. Dust mites and their waste may also play a role. If you notice only intermittent smells, you likely have an allergy or asthma, so speak with your doctor about what you might be allergic to (common allergens include pets, dust mites, mold) and the best way to alleviate symptoms at home or while on vacation.

3: Respiratory illnesses

The most common cause of that familiar musty smell might be all the dust mites and mold spores that can accumulate in a hotel room. The risk is higher for people with asthma or allergies because these guests are more sensitive to allergens like dust mites. Mold is also an issue since it grows best in damp environments such as bathrooms, closets, carpeting, and furniture, and a musty odor may result. One can imagine how the moisture from sticky bathroom tiles or wet carpets may lead to those particles growing. 

4: People with immune deficiencies  

People with immune deficiencies are at risk due to the musty smell. Moisture from bathrooms, humidifiers, or wet towels can attract mold, which creates an odor. The scent can also be caused by dehumidifiers being left on for too long after a storm. Children, pregnant women, seniors, and those with immune deficiencies are especially at risk from mold exposure. 

5: Affect the lungs:

Mold is a significant cause of the musty smell, which can affect a person’s respiratory system and cause health problems such as asthma. Mold-related conditions include toxic shock syndrome, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, allergic rhinitis, and chronic sinusitis. Moreover, allergies are common. A small amount of mold exposure often will not make an individual sick.

6: Skin irritations 

How to get rid of musty smells in hotel room

Skin irritations like contact dermatitis are caused by exposure to spores from mold; this usually happens when your skin comes into contact with moisture on furniture or surfaces where some fungus has grown due to dampness in a building. One way to keep your hotel room dry is to open the windows during the day and close them at night so as not to let in excess humidity. You can also install a dehumidifier in your room if it’s available.


Get the answers to the questions you have about the musty smell in your hotel room.

Can we use scented candles to eliminate the musty smell of the hotel room?

Scented candles are a common way to eliminate the musty smell of your hotel room. The scents you use will vary depending on your preference but should always be designed to refresh the room and eliminate the musty smell. Candles, like other home items, are different from room to room. Be sure you know what type of candle works best with your space before using them in this manner!

When purchasing scented candles for this purpose, choosing which scent is suitable for your space is essential. You will want to select a fresh scent like citrus or linen instead of stronger ones like cinnamon or grapefruit. These stronger scents can mix with the damp air and cause problems rather than solve them!

Is a dehumidifier good for getting rid of a musty smell?

A dehumidifier is an effective way to help get rid of musty smells. If a room has been unoccupied for an extended period, the air and carpets can become saturated with moisture, leading to mildew and mold growth. 

This dampness will produce an unpleasant musty smell over time. A dehumidifier will help remove excess humidity, reducing the presence of a musty odor. Dehumidifiers are also great at eliminating other undesired airborne particles and allergens from the air, so they’re an ideal choice for bedrooms or living rooms! If you can’t find one at your local store, many brands offer options for sale online.

How does an electric diffuser lessen the musty smell of a hotel room?

The following explains the science behind why some rooms have a musty smell and how electric diffusers can be used to get rid of it. 

Diffusing essential oils is one way to reduce the musty odor in your hotel room. The potency of the scent from an essential oil will vary depending on what type you are using and which diffuser you are using, but either way, it’s a safe bet that it will take care of the time cause for smelling – dust mites. 

Dust mites flourish in homes, but they also manage to find their way into hotel rooms. The static energy caused by human movement often transfers dust mites or bed bugs around such public places as homes and hotel rooms.


In many cases, the smell is due to mold or mildew, but there are other causes. To get rid of the musty smell of your hotel room, follow these five simple steps: 

Read up on the basics and theories behind what causes the musty odor, so you’ll know what you’re dealing with. Inspect under your bed and inside furniture for any water sources that might emit a musty smell. 

Start airing out your hotel room. Use an air purifier to help dissipate any airborne particles and unpleasant smells. If using an air purifier seems excessive, open a window in your room and remove all drawers from their cupboards while airing out. 

After they’ve been aired out, please return them to their appropriate place and continue the process until you have done so throughout the room. Airing it out during warm weather can also combat those humid summer days when everything feels damp. 

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