How can I get the musty moldy smell out of the barn/feed room/tack room?
That musty moldy smell is the result of water + spores, and it = gross. And, it’s not super healthy for lungs - human, horse, cat, dog. The mold spores love humid areas, and can live on fabric, leather, walls, floors. Super, right? They have an active reproductive life (ugh) and need to be eliminated and then prevented. Zeolites are the best way to combat mold and mildew smells - and thank goodness zeolites are all safe, from the earth, and non-toxic. Zeolites are porous aluminosilicates, and come from the combo of volcanic ash and alkaline water, although now some zeolites are produced industrially.
Tiny and powerful zeolites! These are the Sweet PDZ variety!
Back to the smell… Attend to the source of the mold and mildew in your barn. How is water getting in? Is it just from humidity, or was there a rainstorm that flooded part of the barn? In barns, because barns are not climate controlled, it may be hard to overcome humidity. You might have a space in the barn that can be closed off to allow a dehumidifier to work (YIPPEE!). Alternatively, fresh air circulating around is the next best thing. Windows are your friend! If there was a flood event, do you need to do some creative roofing? What about landscaping so water run off goes away from the barn? Is there a plumbing leak somewhere that’s creating a mold friendly space?
Once you have dealt with the source - time to clean. Squeegee, towel up, sweep out as much water as you can. Zeolites can help you soak up the last bits of water, simply sprinkly the damp areas and the zeolites act like a sponge. Depending on the surface you need to clean, you have some options. PUH-LEEZE consult your local mold and mildew expert to get advice/help on how to eliminate mold and mildew in your barn - this is influenced by what your barn is made from!
Like a sponge!
Bleach and water works well, be sure the horses are playing outside and you have lots of fresh air. Same for a Borax and water mix. This mix might work well on walls, for wood you could try dish detergent and water to clean up the mold and mildew. Getting the right formula might hinge on the exact surface you are cleaning, so do some research and ask around.
For floors, it really depends on what the flooring is, but I’ll go ahead and assume no one has imported marble floors in their barn. Typical barn floors (concrete or wood or something industrial) will likely be able to become de-molded with a bleach or Borax or soap mix. Do some research and talk to the experts in your area.
Getting back to those zeolites… They work as a desiccant, to take up moisture in the 40-50% range by weight. It would take an awful lot of those tiny desiccant packs in your vitamin bottles to equal the power of a few scoops of Sweet PDZ (a natural zeolite product). This will certainly help you get up every last drop of water from “the incident” area.
You can stash containers of zeolites around the barn. Water bottles with the tops cut away work well.
Zeolites are also super at drying up and ruining the environment that mold grows in, which is handy to prevent the mold from returning. When it comes to smells, zeolites work two ways. One, as an absorbent to sponge up and an adsorbent to stick to damp odors and take moisture and smells away.
You have several ways to use zeolites, one being directly out of the container. You can also pop some in an open container to use in the area, or you can make a sock container of zeolites to do the trick.
A lone sock stuffed with zeolites works well to keep tack trunks and cabinets fresh.
You don’t have to wait for a flood or a spill, you can have these zeolite containers stashed around the damp areas all the time. If your long term horse stuff is stored in a questionable area, make some zeolite socks to toss in the cabinet or trunk, too.
Keep the fresh air flowing, and you should be good to go!