The Mystery of the Smelly Old Floor

updated Mar 8, 2019
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Q: My house—over 150 years old—has one room that is different than the others…my living room has an “old” smell. The kitchen on the same level has no odor. There is NO crawlspace for these rooms. Back when the house was built, they used white oak logs to support a room added-on. We’ve had a lot of rain lately, and no, we do not have gutters. I’m sure the moisture is causing the smell…

Last winter, I used one of those Mold Test Kits and sent away for the results. No mention of mold, just common allergens in the air. Nothing important was mentioned. Oh, and there’s NO plumbing in that part of the house.

My mother’s house—built in 1954—has the same issue when it rains a lot. She’s had the companies come out and do all kinds of expensive work several times and the smell still came back.

I’ve cleaned with vinegar… I read where you can rub baking soda into the floor boards, let it sit over night, then vacuum up the excess; I’m doing that tonight.
I also use a purifier with a HEPA filter. Any ideas what else I can do about the smell? -Sent by Jane

Editor: This is a… less-fun Old House Mystery than, say, the case of The Mysterious Bathroom 2×4 or The World’s Scariest Stairs caper. Still, I’m sure we’ll all do our best to help!

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