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Old 11-13-2012, 07:08 AM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Escondido, CA
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Interior Odor Control

I just purchased an older MH and it has that closed up musty smell in it. The interior is clean, just smells musty. What to do to eliminate that?

I know, open the windows. Well, sometimes the 'weather outside is frightful.'

I plan to live in this coach. Do exhaust fans in the bath and kitchen handle this sort of thing adequately? Are there cleaners that help or make things worse with their own odor.

Please help this pass the sniff test for me.

1998 Dutch Star 3865 with enclosed cargo trailer following
Working Full-timer based in Arizona & Nevada.
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:28 AM   #2
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It might take a bit to totally get rid of the musty smell. A cheap and easy start is leave dinner plates with baking soda on them as thick as the plate allows, put a few all over the coach when you are not using it. I store my coach at my house and unless the wind/dirt is blowing I leave it opened up during the day only.You might wash everything possible and then steam clean the carpets and then wipe every surface down (Walls,Ceiling,Cabinets,etc ) with a cleaner that you like the smell of and continue using the same kind for awhile.

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Old 11-14-2012, 05:46 AM   #3
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Bowls of vinegar will also help. Spread them around with the baking soda. Clean everything you can with the vinegar also.
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:20 AM   #4
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Try to find out if the musty smell is from water damage or not. Check all over the place to see if there is any damp or damaged wood. Wet or rotting wood can cause quite a smell. I just fixed up a trailer that had a strong odor in it and it turned out to be from water damage. It all can be fixed though. If you can take the cushions and mattress outside for awhile it can really help.
95 Winnebago Brave Sport. 27'
94 33' Fleetwood Wilderness
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:55 AM   #5
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Ditto on using baking soda, opening a vent, and checking for leaks.

Is your RV carpeted? Carpets can hold onto lots of odors. Vacuum the carpet thoroughly, then clean it w/ a carpet cleaning machine. (Maybe consider removing carpet in the future and installing a vinyl or laminate floor.)

Vacuum all window valances, too, along with dinette cushions, sofa, chairs, etc. Fabreeze might also help freshen up those fabrics and take away that musty smell.
[B]BichonLover is a 100% California gal, driving a vintage Fleetwood in SoCal.
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:30 AM   #6
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I have found something that really helps freshen up the air. It is called Ozium and is made to remove smoke and other smells from a car. I found it at my local Auto Zone but it is also available online. Spray the inside of the coach in small bursts throughout and leave it closed up (I did this as I left to go somewhere). Now my MH smells better than new (no odors at all). I also use Ozium in my car and in some hotel rooms. Excellent stuff!
Mel (Melanie) and Harry
2009 Tiffin Phaeton 40QTH
2014 Jeep Wrangler Sport
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:39 AM   #7
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In addition to the above - install roof vent covers on your forward and aft roof vents (like Maxxair Vent - I use the CAMPCO $20 ones from WalMart and they work great). You can leave the roof vents open all the time and the RV will air out 24/7.
You might want to use rug cleaner/deodorizer on your carpets and seat cushions If the are the source.
Tom and Amy from Northern Virginia.
2000 Allegro 454/Workhorse P32/TST/Crossfire
Life is a DIY project - enjoy it.
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:05 AM   #8
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If there's no mold I would look at the carpet. I had a very bad odor as soon as I opened the door and found it was the small carpets on the inside steps. Chucked them out and the smell was gone.

Good to know about the baking soda. I have used vinegar often after parties at home when everyone was smoking then. The smoke smell was gone by the morning. Good luck.
Paul & Lise
2010 Landmark, Augusta
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:58 AM   #9
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We had a smell in the refrigerator in one of our previous trailers that baking soda couldn't overcome. What we found that worked the best is charcoal, not the stuff that you use in the backyard grill, but rather the stuff you find in pet stores for use in fish tanks. Put it on some plates in several locations and change it out in 7-10 days. Do this a couple times and along with the above mentioned cleaning efforts. Good luck.
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Old 11-14-2012, 10:15 AM   #10
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The best thing I have found is to use an ozonator. They are used by the fire and flood restoration companies to completely remove offensive odors. I have had two of them for years. First one I bought new from a company in Canada and the second one I found at a garage sale. Put them in the RV, boat, or closet with a fan as well to push the ozone around. Leave it closed up for a few days and it will be like new. Ozone is an unstable molecule of 3 oxygen atoms. As the molecules encounter molds, viruses, and organic compounds, the third atom oxidizes the offending agent.

They are a little spendy but they last for years and can be used in all kinds of situations where they are needed. My unit came from this company:

Crystal Air ozone generators & ozone systems
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Old 11-14-2012, 10:24 AM   #11
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Another option is coffee. A little bit in a couple of bowls and in the refrigerator can help along with baking soda. I think both can "pull" some odor into them - but bottom line is figuring out what's causing the odor. Simply covering up an odor with aftershave is no substitute for a shower.

The vent covers and leaving them open just a little is wise under any circumstance.

Steve & Annie (RVM2)
2008 Fleetwood Bounder 38F ~ 325 ISB Turbo ~ Freightliner XC 2014 CR-V ~ Invisibrake / Sterling All Terrain
Sioux Falls, SD (FullTime Since Nov 5th 2014)
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