Water in crawl space. Working on drying it out but is there anything safe to kill the odor?

We have had a problem with rainwater collecting under our house in the crawl space. We are working to remedy the problem so that it will not happen again. My husband has installed a fan to help dry it out. In the meantime it really smells and there is some kind of gnat population growing and coming through the vents?? How can we clean it out and get rid of the horrible odor, without damaging the heating and cooling unit which is near where the water has pooled. First instinct is bleach but concerned that will eat metal on the units. Is there anything safe to use that will work?


Small crawl beneath house literally requires army crawl. Cave country - few basements. Planning to do moisture barrier once water problem is under control -- haven't been in house very long. Found possible plumbing leak near septic entrance - raw sewage :(. I'm looking for the least toxic way to get rid of that odor and the flies, which I believe are moth flies -not mosquitos (see whatsthatbug.com). They seem to be dwindling in numbers. We have purchased a fan and dehumidifier, and put lime under there which really seems to be helping. Looking into Milgo. My husband built a new shingled cover over the crawl entry and is working on installing wiring for fan and dehumidifier. Doing a combination of what many suggested. Am sensitive to bleach and it often causes asthma attack, so is my least favorite option. Some good responses and I appreciate all of them. I do not know what kind of smelly salts the one responder is referring to without more specific info. THANKS to All.

9 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favourite answer

    Finely crushed lime will dry it up and take the smell away. You can buy it at most lumber yards or cement plants. I think it comes in 50 lbs. bags. Spread it all around the crawl space. It will absorb the moisture and keep the smell down. Good luck!

  • x
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Are you sure its just rain water and not condensation from your cooling unit? The pipe may be clogged that carries your condensation away from the evaporator unit in the coil on the furnace...

    Ok, lets assume its just rain water at this time.

    When you dry out the place, the bugs, or midges will dissapear. They are only there to breed in the water, or they may even be mosquitoes nymphs.

    Now, if it was me, after you throuroghly dry out this area, the smell should dissapate a whole lot too, but, I would get a bottle of cholorox and spray it all over your rafters, (providing there isnt any insulation up there), to kill any mold that is attempting to grow!

    Then spray it on the ground, as you crawl out...(keep that fan going!! YOU WILL NEED VENTILATION!!!

    Now, after the smell dissapates, I would cover the earth, that is expeosed with some kind of plastic sheathing!

    First, it will stop moisture from coming up into the house. thus lessening the amount that the A/C has to take out of the air...(yes, its doing just that! If your crawl space is open to the basement, or you dont have any type of insulation under that floor).

    Stop the water from coming into the basement crawlspace first, before you do this, so that water will not get under the plastic.

    I wish you well...


  • 1 decade ago

    Stop your water problem no matter what. Make sure you have a good moisture barrier if not a concrete floor in your crawlspace. You need a mildew-cide. Not all are bleached based. However, bleach is good. Wrap and tape your metal unit while it is off and make a bleach solution and put it in one of those handy pump up yard sprayers and go to town! You don't want the area to have any health compromising black mold do you? Kill that stuff at any cost. The odor will go away on it's own once the mold and mildew are dead, and so will your friends the gnats. Install a fan of some kind, at least temporarily, to get positive ventilation in your crawlspace.

  • 1 decade ago

    Milgo is a common product for this http://groups.msn.com/Steambrite/milgoandmilgosr.m...

    Bleach may work but you would want to be careful with the application. There also some iodine based products the names of which I don't recall however they require chemical licenses to obtain them but the milgo is an excellent product if mixed properly and applied properly, weed sprayers work great.

    Source(s): regretfully I used to work for a flood and fire restoration company.
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  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    Before you can remove the odor, you’ll have to get into the crawl space and inspect for plumbing leaks. Also look for - See more at: http://www.miconstruguia.com/en/crawl-space-odor/

  • The bleach is ok just as long as you don't soak everything.

    It will dry to fast to hurt anything. Bleach is #1 to clean,deodorize and disinfect.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Right on Jesse! Gotta have a moisture barrier in place!

  • 1 decade ago

    purchase a dehumidifier, about $139, will work quick at removing all moisture from crawlspace, not sure about placement, one thing , you have to remember to empty it couple times a day

  • 1 decade ago

    Smelly salts, this is the best. Find them in a beauty shop.

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