If you are worried about mold, you should know what does mold smell like. Since mold often grows undetected, the smell is often the first sign that indicates its presence. Mold emits musty, unpleasant odor that often accompanies stinging feeling in the eyes. Make sure you know what to expect when encountering the smell.
1. Why Mold Smells Musty
Mold smells musty because it releases gas from organic compounds, called Microbial Volatile Organic Compound (MVOC). Depending on the mold type and growth size, the smell may be noticeable or not.
However, when you already smell the mold, you probably also inhale the flying spores. It can also mean that the mold has grown into significant size, even without your knowledge.
Black mold smell is probably the most common, especially in an old building or property with the moisture problem. The spores may fly and enter your nose, mouth, and eyes, creating not only bad smell but also health problems. On the other hand, this musty smell is a good detection tool for a mold problem, even if you are unable to see it.
Musty smell sometimes comes out from mildew, which is another fungus type that has more static growth patterns than mold. While mildew VS mold is different, their smells are usually similar. Both mildew and mold release spores and organic compounds that create gas, which create an unpleasant effect.
2. Does Your House Smell Musty or Earthy?
Unpleasant smell in a house is not always caused by mold. An old and dirty building may have earthy instead of musty smell. It can happen if a building is closed off for a long time, or if the ground around it is wet. You can find out by inhaling deeply inside and outside the building to detect the differences.
Old houses may also emit “unique” odors. They can be from gas, trash, or unseen animal droppings. The best course of action is to open the windows and doors and get out to determine the next act. Avoid turning on the light or any fire source if you suspect gas.
If the musty smell persists for 36 to 48 hours even after you open the windows and doors, it may be mold or mildew smell. If that’s the case, you must prepare to contact professional mold remediation service.
3. Why Mold Smell is Dangerous
Mold smell itself is not dangerous, but it indicates more serious problems that can affect your health or property. Noticeable smell means there are particles from the mold that enter your nose, which in this case means the spores. Inhaling the spores can cause several downsides, such as:
Small spores can irritate your eyes, causing signs such as redness, itchiness, and teary-eyes. It can happen as soon as your nose catches the musty smell, especially if the mold problem is serious.
When spores enter your nose, you may experience symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, and wheezing breaths. The signs are more severe for people with asthma or allergy.
People with skin allergies may experience symptoms when the spores hit. They may develop rash, redness, and breakout.
Flying spores are also dangerous for vulnerable people, such as babies, kids, and the elderly. People with low immunity are also at risk, especially if they are exposed to spores for too long. If you bring pets, they can also develop health problems after a while because of flying spores.
4. What to Do after Smelling Mold
So, how to get rid of mold smell? Remember, once the mold releases the spores (and smell), perfume or incense will no longer work. You must remove the root of the problem to make your property smell fresh again. Here are things to do when the musty smell refuses to leave:
Calling mold inspection service
Mold inspection service helps you determine the size and location of the mold problem. You may need to spend quite a lot of money, especially if the company conducts several samplings and uses high-end tools. However, it helps to determine the exact size and level of a mold problem.
Open all the ventilation
Reduce the bad effects by opening all the windows and doors. Allow natural light and fresh air to enter the house. The fresh air, warm weather, and sunlight will help to reduce the ideal habitat for mold.
Remove or fix the “wetness”
Remove every object that is damp or wet, since it is a favorite habitat for mold. Look for possible signs of moisture problems, such as plumbing leak and damaged roof. Fix them as soon as possible.
Order professional mold remediation service
If the mold problem turns out bad, you cannot clean it yourself without making it spread. Call mold remediation service to have the mold removed properly. Improper mold cleaning will make the mold spread because of the flying spores.
Professional mold remediation service usually seals the house (or room) and pumps out all the mold-related particles. After applying the proper cleaning process, the company will deodorize the house, removing the musty smell. All you need to do is making sure that the mold will not come back after cleaning.
5. How to Prevent Mold Smell from Returning
Once the mold is removed, you need to prevent the mold from coming by turning your house into a “bad habitat.” This means opening the air vents, adding proper windows, installing a dehumidifier, and fixing all the plumbing problems or leak. Change all the old or wet furniture and upholstery with the new ones.
When removing the old furniture and mold-ridden parts, make sure to wear disposable gloves and a mask. Wrap the stuff tightly with a plastic bag before leaving them away from home.
“My house smells musty. Do I have mold?”
It is a valid question to ask when you smell unpleasant odor at home. While odor can come from anywhere, musty smell that does not disappear after 48 hours can mean mold problem.
If this happens, don’t hesitate to call mold inspection service, and check your house for possible mold infestation. Sometimes, mold can be your first sign of a problem, helping you to spot hidden mold before it grows worse.