Does your basement have a smell? Are you having trouble identifying it? There are many different things that could be causing that smell, some of which are dangerous.

The below guide explains how to diagnose some of the most popular basement smells.


If you have a basement that gets wet or has moisture in the air, it is possible that you have mold or mildew growing. What you are smelling could be the spores from the growth. Mold can develop slowly over time or quickly after a lot of water has been present. Essentially, mold could be growing after one flood or over time if there is a little bit of moisture in the air.

Homes that are prone to flooding should invest in a French drain, fixing any cracks in the walls, or repairing the foundation. If you have some moisture in the air, all you may need is a dehumidifier. However, it is best to find the source of water in your basement.

Sewer Gas

Sewer gas can be dangerous. It can smell like poop, garbage, or rotten eggs. If you notice one of those smells, there is likely a crack in a sewage pipe. The sewer gas could be explosive and needs to be taken extremely seriously. You will need to call a plumber immediately to come and evaluate the situation.

Cat Urine

Cat urine is very concentrated and is the worst of animal urines. If you have a cat or cats in the neighborhood, you may have a problem with urine. Because urine is so concentrated, cat pee smells very strongly, like ammonia.

There are several products on the market that claim to clean the surface and remove the smell. However, it is likely not to work. Unfortunately, you may have to throw away anything that has the urine on it. After any fabric or wood is torn out and tossed, spread baking soda over the area and then clean it up. Repeat this process to remove the basement smell.

Dead Animals

No one wants to move a box or look into a small space to find a dead animal. However, when an animal starts to decompose, the smell could take months to dissipate. Most animals let off a strong sulfur scent. The scent is believed to be so strong because dead animals tend to carry diseases and our senses tell us to stay away from it.

To get rid of the smell, you will have to start by finding the source. Look in cracks, behind boxes, and in other small spaces. Also, use your nose to try to pinpoint the location.

Once the dead animal is removed, disinfect the area. If that does not work, you may need to call a professional to clean the surface.

Can’t Tell What That Smell Is?

Oftentimes it is hard to determine what a smell is. If you cannot figure it out on your own, you should call a professional immediately. In the worst-case scenario, it could be dangerous to you, your family, and your home.

Ark Basement Services is here for you if you have water in your basement. Our team can help determine your basement smell and remove water that may be causing it. Contact our team HERE to learn more about our free estimates.

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