You ever check into a hotel room, and everything looks okay? However, you encounter a musty smell that leaves you frustrated and irritated to the extent of making you sick.

Sometimes the scent comes from outside, meaning that all hotel rooms smell bad, creating a worst-case scenario.

Nonetheless, the smell could be coming from within the room, which is something that can be remedied.

Why Do Hotel Rooms Smell Musty?

The musty smell in hotel rooms is caused by humidity. Failure to turn on the air conditioner or open the windows because the room has not been rented results in a musty odor, particularly when guests use the shower and leave wet towels behind.

When the humidity in the room does not evaporate, you get a musty odor. Musty odors also become prevalent when guests smoke in their hotel rooms.

Again, the hotel rooms near a beach will most likely be musty if the room is not thoroughly cleaned. Guests from the beach get lots of sand and wet their clothes while having fun, creating a very damp odor.

Another common cause of musty smells is poor maintenance on the part of the hotel. Some hotels lack proper ventilation; they have old furnishings and synthetic carpets, which worsen the situation. 

A clean fresh smelling hotel suite

What Are The Causes Of Mold In Hotel Rooms?  

While mold problems can usually be associated with lower-grade hotels, where the management neglects care, it is not uncommon to experience mild issues even at 5-star hotels for various reasons.

Some causes of mold in hotel rooms include

  • Negligence by the management
  • Drastic Changes in climate
  • Water damage like flooding, window leaks, and pipe bursts.
  • Water mains like leakages and malfunctioning pipes.
  • Having wallpaper that covers the interior of the walls.

If you mold is found in your room during a stay in a hotel, contact the hotel manager immediately. There are many health and respiratory problems that can occur when exposed to mold. Even if the room smells good, you do not want to take any chances when it comes to mold spores.

Can You Have A Musty Smell Without Mold? 

Yes, too much moisture in the environment or HVAC system issues can cause a musty smell without mold. A musty odor, in most cases, indicates the presence of some type of mold infestation.

Is It Common For Hotel Rooms To Smell Musty? 

Yes, it is pretty standard for hotel rooms to smell musty because of humidity. It also depends on how long the last vacationer’s doors and windows have been closed. But the musty smell should dissipate afters soon as you open the windows and air the room out.

Cleaning a hotel room to get rid of the musty odor

How Do You Get Rid Of A Musty Smell In A Hotel Room? 

  1. You will need to ask for extra cleaning if you do not want to change rooms. 
  2. Ensure that the linens are changed, and the carpets cleaned
  3. Check to see that the wet towels in the bathroom have been removed
  4. Ventilate the area. Open the windows and doors for some fresh air.

If these first few options fail to get rid of musty smell, try to freshen your room by using air fresheners and sprays. Using air fresheners is the easiest and fastest remedy to a musty smell.

How To Avoid Musty Smells In Your Hotel Rooms? 

The following are the most effective methods of avoiding musty odors.

  • Increase ventilation by opening doors and windows to allow fresh air in. Consider using a fun, if possible, to help circulate the air.
  • Always use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air. A dehumidifier will reduce the growth of mold and mildew altogether.
  • Check for water leaks by inspecting all pipes and fixtures for any signs of moisture. If you discover a leak, fix it immediately to avoid further damage.
  • Avoid smoking indoors, as smoking makes the air stale, thus contributing to musty smells. However, if you must smoke indoors, remember to open the doors and windows for fresh air. 


Many factors mentioned contribute to a musty odor in a hotel room. You contact the front desk and ask the hotel for a new room. If this is not possible, request additional cleaning and refresh the room by increasing outside air ventilation, using a dehumidifier, and air fresheners. 

FAQ Section

Can a Musty Hotel Room Make You Sick?

A musty room could indicate the presence of mold, mildew, contaminated air, or a breeding ground for dangerous bacteria. Staying in a musty room for an extended period can cause you to cough, sneeze, feel dizzy, or develop a sore throat. Continuously refresh the room, especially if you are sensitive to air quality.

Can Baking Soda and Vinegar Remove a Musty Smell?

If you are allergic to air fresheners, baking soda and vinegar can go a long way in fighting odors. These pantry ingredients are safe and excellent cleaning agents that toss out mold and mildew.