We pride ourselves on keeping moisture out of storage units. However, even the best-kept units can get a little musty if their renters do not take steps. Here are some easy ways to keep the mustiness down:
- Use vinegar. For everything.
White vinegar is a natural cleaner that kills germs and mildew with acidity. You can use it in one of two ways: placing open containers or dishes in your unit, or washing with vinegar. Open containers of white vinegar will slowly evaporate, acidifying the air and the condensation inside the unit. This will kill mildew, even in areas that are hard to reach. Alternatively, you can mop the floor or scrub the walls with vinegar. Do not rinse afterwards; allow the vinegar to evaporate on its own. Although at first your unit will smell strongly of vinegar, over time both the vinegar and musty smells should subside.
- Use odor-absorbing materials.
This is a Band-aid solution, but it’s a solution nonetheless. Although it will not kill the mildew that causes the mustiness, it will prevent that mustiness from hitting you like a wave when you open up your unit. Odor-absorbing materials that work well are open boxes of baking soda (use at least four) and kitty litter.
- Replace the smell with a better one.
Mustiness smells terrible. Vanilla smells great, and is a much stronger scent. If you throw a rag soaked with vanilla into your unit, it will smell a lot fresher the next time you open it. Coffee grounds can be used similarly.
- Use a dehumidifier overnight.
If your unit is air conditioned, this may not be necessary. If it is not, then it likely will be. Dehumidifying a unit overnight every few months helps stop mustiness before it even begins.
- Keep items in airtight plastic bins.
This tip works for three reasons. First, it is much more difficult for mildew to grow and thrive inside an airtight bin. Second, it prevent the odors from escaping all at once. Finally, it makes it easy to identify and isolate particularly musty items. Instead of coating all your stuff in a layer of musty odor, particularly musty items only stink up their individual containers.
- Plastic-wrap upholstered furniture.
If you plan to store upholstery for a long time, it is more than worth your while to have it coated in fitted plastic wrap. This works for furniture for the same reasons that plastic bins work for smaller items.