Why Do Beach Houses Smell?

While many of us may dream of vacationing or living in a beach house, there is one aspect of beach house living that we may not enjoy as much as the sound of the ocean. The smell. There may be a rare coastal house that is not affected, but in general, staying near the sea could leave you questioning: Why do beach houses smell?

Beach houses smell because they are often affected by mold and dampness. Since mold grows readily in warm, damp environments, homes at the coast are prone to infestations. With mold comes the smell of dampness, mustiness and this is the smell we often experience in a beach house.

Suppose you have been on vacation at the coast. In that case, you may have experienced the not-so-pleasant smell that often accompanies beach houses. The humidity near the ocean affects homes, leaving them damp and prone to mold growth. Let’s look into this factor and explain why beach houses smell.

Why Do Beach Houses Smell?

Jump onto Pinterest, and you will find a thousand ways to make your house smell like a beach house. No doubt, the scents being marketed are lovely and fresh, but if you walk into a real beach house you will likely be met with something entirely different.

Beach houses tend to smell a little or a lot, depending on the house. The musty smell is caused by a few factors:

1. Proximity To The Sea

One thing that makes beach houses so appealing is their proximity to the sea. The problem with having a house close to the sea is that coastal areas are naturally humid. The moisture in the air causes moisture to spread into houses and other buildings in the area. If moisture has entered your beach house, it will begin to smell.

2. How Long It’s Been Locked Up

If your vacation or beach house has been locked up for some time, you may find that moisture has seeped in while you were away. When a beach house is damp, it is likely to become home to mold, and when mold moves in, it brings friends and family, leaving you with an infestation that is unsightly and bad to smell.  

3. How Much Mold You Have

You may find that you have small areas of mold growth in your beach house. In this case, it will be a simple matter to clean it up, and the smell will fade with time and fresh air. You could find, however, that your house has a bad infestation. In this case, it will not only look and smell bad but could also be unhealthy for you and any guests staying in the house.

4. How Much You Have Been Sweating

This is not a reason often mentioned, but we feel it simply must be said. If you have been staying in your beach house for a few days and then notice a funky smell, it could be your body odor or that of your guests.

It’s no secret that beach vacations are filled with long days of fun in the sun. Outdoor adventures and, perhaps, quick rinses in the beach shower or a dip in the pool. If you, or your guests, have been living it up in the heat and not washing thoroughly, your body odor could be contributing to the foul smell of the house.

Be sure to rinse off salt water and sand before entering the house and maintain good hygiene during your vacation to avoid a foul-smelling beach house.

5. Your Clothing

Did you know that your clothing can contribute to a bad-smelling beach house? Clothes worn to the beach or during hot, sweaty days can begin to smell while sitting in the wash hamper. Beach sand often smells slightly off since there are organisms living, and dying, in it, so if your clothes have sand on them, the smell can filter into the house.

Try to wash and dry your clothes as often as possible to avoid having them contribute to a bad smell in your beach house.

6. Rust And Rot

It may not be all that noticeable in dry conditions, but in damp conditions, rust gives off a smell, as does rotting wood. In a beach house that is in a humid area, the smell of rust and rotting wood can contribute to a bad smell. To avoid having these smells in your home, consider regularly maintaining your wooden and steel elements.

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How To Remove Bad Smells From A Beach House

If you find that your beach house is smelling musty, you need to take action to rectify the smell and its causes. For many beach house owners, having a home that smells good can be the difference between having rental occupants and not. Take the time to maintain your beach house for your own family and any guests you may be hosting.

We have collected a few easy-to-use ideas to keep the smell out of your beach house and keep it smelling fresh.

  • Say “no” to carpets. Rugs and wall-to-wall carpets are great at keeping in moisture. They are not truly necessary during the summer months, so rather forgo them in your beach house to help keep it dry.
  • Use an air conditioner. Air conditioning can become expensive, primarily if your family or guests use it continuously. It can, however, help in cooling the beach house down and keeping it dry.
  • Keep all clothing and bedding clean. Ensure that clothing and bedding are washed often to eliminate bad smells being brought in from adventurous days on the beach.
  • Treat the wood in the house. Treat any wood in and outside the beach house with a weather seal. If the items are painted, be sure to touch up any flakes or chips to stop any moisture from getting in.
  • Thoroughly clean any mold. If you find you have mold growing in your house, treat it using ammonia. Bleach cleans it temporarily, but to indeed kill the spores and get rid of them, ammonia works wonders. Getting rid of the mold will immediately improve the smell.
  • Purchase stainless steel appliances. Since steel rusts easily at the coast, consider using stainless steel wherever possible. Where not possible, treat your steel items with oil to protect them.
  • Use air fresheners and candles. Just like in a house inland, you can make your beach house smell good by using scented candles and diffusers. Once you have resolved all the causes of bad smells in your beach house, add a little something extra with some scents. You can opt for sachets in the drawers, diffusers, or scented candles, as long as they are supervised.


The main reason for bad smells in a beach house is moisture that leads to mold growth. It is common for beach houses to become damp because they are so close to the sea and are often closed for extended periods. Other reasons for a beach house to smell could include dirty bedding and clothing, rust, wood rot, and if the house has been closed for a long time.  

To keep bad smells to a minimum, ensure that the house is maintained to stop moisture and mold from taking over. Treat wood and steel and consider using an air conditioner to keep the house cool and dry. By keeping your beach house maintained, you will minimize the causes of bad smells and allow that gentle sea breeze to fill your home with happy memories, and good smells.