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Have you ever walked into a hotel room and been hit with a musty smell? It’s not a pleasant experience, and it can put a damper on your entire trip.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: to get rid of the musty smell in your hotel room, you need to identify the source of the smell and take steps to eliminate it.

In this article, we’ll show you how to do that.

We’ll cover everything from checking for mold and mildew to using natural remedies to freshen up the air in your room. By the end, you’ll be armed with the knowledge you need to banish that musty smell and enjoy your stay.

Identify the Source

Hotel room to room door. Some kind of mold or mildew, will it give me health problems?
by u/Sir_Lags_A_Lot_ in whatisthisthing

When you walk into a hotel room and are greeted with a musty smell, it can be quite unpleasant. However, it is important to identify the source of the smell before you take any action to get rid of it. Here are some tips to help you identify the source:

  • Check for Mold and Mildew: Mold and mildew can grow in areas with high humidity or moisture. Check the bathroom, shower, and sink areas for any signs of black or green spots on the walls or ceiling. If you see any, it is likely that the odor is coming from mold or mildew.
  • Look for Dampness: A damp environment can also cause a musty smell. Check the carpet, curtains, and upholstery for any signs of dampness or water stains. If you find any, it is likely that the odor is coming from the dampness.
  • Inspect the Air Conditioning Unit: A dirty or poorly maintained air conditioning unit can also cause a musty smell. Check the air filter and vents for any signs of dirt or dust buildup. If you find any, it is likely that the odor is coming from the air conditioning unit.

Remember, identifying the source of the smell is the first step in getting rid of it. If you are unsure of the source or are unable to get rid of the smell on your own, it is worth mentioning that many popular hotel chains have maintenance staff available to help with these types of issues.

Eliminate the Source

One of the most unpleasant things a hotel guest can experience is walking into a musty, damp-smelling room. The musty smell is usually caused by excess moisture in the air, which can lead to mold and mildew growth. Fortunately, there are a few things that hotel staff can do to get rid of the musty smell and make the room more comfortable for their guests.

Is this mold going to be dangerous for me to clean myself? How do you guys go about it?
by u/hellaripe in Adulting

The first step in getting rid of the musty smell is to eliminate the source. This means identifying any areas where excess moisture may be present and addressing them. Here are a few things that hotel staff can do:

  • Clean the Area: If there are visible signs of mold or mildew, it is important to clean the affected area thoroughly. This can be done using a solution of bleach and water, or a commercial mold and mildew cleaner. Keep in mind that it is important to wear protective gear, such as gloves and a mask, when cleaning mold and mildew.
  • Replace or Repair Damaged Items: If there are any items in the room that are damaged and cannot be salvaged, they should be replaced. This could include things like carpeting or upholstery that have been affected by mold and mildew. If there are items that can be repaired, such as a leaky faucet, make sure to address those as well.
  • Use a Dehumidifier: Using a dehumidifier can help to remove excess moisture from the air, which can help to prevent mold and mildew growth. It is worth mentioning that dehumidifiers can be noisy, so it may be best to use them during the day when guests are less likely to be in the room.

By eliminating the source of the musty smell, hotel staff can help to make the room more comfortable for their guests. Remember that it is important to address the problem as soon as possible, as mold and mildew can be harmful to people with allergies or respiratory issues.

Freshen Up the Air

When staying in a hotel room, one of the most unpleasant experiences is encountering a musty or stale smell. Luckily, there are several ways to freshen up the air and get rid of the odor.

One of the easiest ways to get rid of musty smell in a hotel room is to open the windows and doors. This will allow fresh air to circulate in the room and push out the stale air. If the hotel room has a balcony, it is worth mentioning that keeping the balcony door open for a while can also help to freshen up the air.

Another natural remedy to get rid of musty smell is to use essential oils or vinegar. Essential oils like lavender, lemon, or peppermint can be placed in a diffuser or sprayed around the room to freshen up the air. Alternatively, a small bowl of vinegar placed in the room can also help eliminate the smell.

If natural remedies don’t work, using an air purifier is an effective way to get rid of musty smell. Air purifiers work by filtering out the air and removing allergens, bacteria, and other pollutants that can cause unpleasant odors. Hotel guests can bring their own portable air purifiers or choose to stay in hotels that provide air purifiers in the rooms. Keep in mind that air purifiers can be noisy and may not be suitable for light sleepers.

Natural Remedies Air Purifiers
  • Open windows and doors
  • Use essential oils
  • Place a small bowl of vinegar in the room
  • Filter out allergens, bacteria, and pollutants
  • Can be noisy
  • May not be suitable for light sleepers

Remember, it is important for hotels to maintain a clean and fresh-smelling environment for their guests. Unfortunately, sometimes musty smells can still linger in hotel rooms. By using these methods, hotel guests can freshen up the air and enjoy a more pleasant stay.

On the other hand, if the musty smell persists even after trying these methods, it is recommended to notify the hotel staff. They may be able to move the guest to another room or take additional measures to eliminate the odor.

It is worth mentioning that staying in popular hotel chains like Marriott, Hilton, or Hyatt can ensure that the hotel room is well-maintained and clean. These hotel chains have high standards for cleanliness and guest satisfaction, making them a reliable choice for travelers who value comfort and convenience.

Prevent Future Smells

It is worth mentioning that preventing musty smells from developing in a hotel room is much easier than dealing with them once they have already set in. Here are some helpful tips to prevent future smells:

  • Keep the Room Dry: One of the most important things to keep in mind is to keep the room as dry as possible. Humidity can cause musty odors to develop, so be sure to use the air conditioning or dehumidifier if available. Additionally, keep the windows closed when it is rainy or humid outside.
  • Avoid Leaving Wet Clothes or Towels in the Room: Wet clothes or towels can quickly cause a musty smell to develop. Always hang them up to dry outside the room or in the bathroom with the fan on.
  • Report Any Issues to Hotel Staff: If there is a leak or any other issue that may cause a musty smell, report it to the hotel staff immediately. They can address the issue promptly, preventing it from becoming a bigger problem.

By following these simple steps, you can prevent musty odors from developing in your hotel room, ensuring a pleasant and comfortable stay.


A musty smell in a hotel room can be a real downer, but it doesn’t have to ruin your trip. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can identify and eliminate the source of the smell, freshen up the air, and prevent future issues.

Keep in mind that if you’re staying in a particularly humid or damp location, you may need to take extra precautions to keep your room smelling fresh. But with a little bit of effort, you can ensure that your hotel stay is comfortable and odor-free.

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