Wednesday, June 19, 2024

What Does Mold In Your House Smell Like

What Are The Signs Of Mold

8 Smell of Mold

Mold starts out as a little spot but expands quickly. Youll usually notice it early on, unless its in an out-of-the-way location.

Mold can be black, white, spotted, or just about any color, and may appear powdery, cottony, or velvety.

If you notice a spot and arent sure if its just an old stain or a splotch of dirt, heres how to tell if it could be a sign of mold:

  • It has a musty, earthy smell.
  • Theres a nearby source of moisture, but not much light.
  • You see warping, cracking, or peeling of whatever material its growing on.
  • A drop of bleach lightens its color in a minute or two.
  • Unchecked, mold will continue to grow. Dirt and old stains wont.

Having mold in your home wont necessarily make you sick. But it does have the potential to cause certain health issues.

Touching or inhaling mold spores can cause allergy-type symptoms such as:

  • runny nose and congestion
  • lung irritation
  • wheezing

In many cases, you can get rid of household mold yourself. Mold can be removed with:

  • commercial products
  • a bleach solution of 8 ounces of bleach per 1 gallon of water

Before you begin:

  • Wear protective eyewear, nonporous gloves, and a face mask or N-95 respirator.
  • Never mix other cleaners or ammonia with bleach, as it can create toxic fumes.

Use a brush to scrub mold off surfaces, making sure you get it all. Porous materials, such as carpeting, furniture, and ceiling tiles, may have to be discarded. Dont paint or caulk until youre sure all the mold is gone.

Besidesremediation Are Their Easy Ways To Get Rid Of The Mold Smell

The only way to get rid of the mold smell is to remove the mold. Air fresheners, disinfectant sprays, household cleaning products, candles, incense, and potpourri may temporarily cover up the smell but they wont get rid of it because you are not addressing the source of the smell. In addition, they can release there own set of toxins and chemicals which can compromise your health further.

The EC3 Candle has been proven to remove mold spores and mycotoxins in the air and as such, removes the moldy smell. I have used these personally and can attest to their effectiveness. You still need to address the mold problem but the EC3 candles can definitely help in the short term.

There are also some mold remover sprays that do work to some degree.

Have you ever smelled a moldy smell? What did it smell like to you? I am already adding to this list based on your comments.

A version of this post first appeared on Hybrid Rasta Mama. It has been significantly updated for inclusion here.

How To Control Mold Smell

The more important thing, of course, is to eradicate the mold. After that, expose the room/furniture/clothing to sunlight. Ventilate the room adequately. Let the fresh air in as much as possible.

The use of freshener may help, but remember to get rid of the mold first. Dont use it only to mask the bad air without treating the source.

In conclusion, knowing what does mold smell like is just the first step. Treating the bad odor is secondary to removing the source.

Don’t Miss: How To Clean Mold From Boat Seats

Keep Your Home As Dry As Possible

Wet surfaces spell trouble for your home. Not only will they encourage mold and mildew to form, but wet surfaces can cause long-lasting damage to your property. Therefore, you must keep all surfaces dry whenever possible. Be sure to dry the bathroom floor after a shower, spills in the kitchen, or anything thats not supposed to be wet.

What Is A Musty Smell

What Does Mold Smell Like? A Guide To Identifying Mold ...

mustymoldy smellsmells mustydampMusty smells

What does a musty odor smell like?

Mold does not always have a strong smell but when it is present, its often described as musty. Others have described mold smelling earthy, meaty or resembling the odor of wet socks or rotten wood. For many homeowners, the smell is unpleasant and pungent.

does a musty smell mean mold?mustysmellmusty smellsmoldmildewMoldmildew

Don’t Miss: How Many Parts Bleach To Water To Kill Mold

Common Causes Of Water Damage Leading To Mold Smells

There are multiple reasons why your house can smell moldy due to mold but they all have one common factor which was stated earlier

Water damage.

It can come in many forms:

  • Roof leaks
  • Appliance leaks such as your refridgerator line or ice maker
  • Air conditioning leak
  • Etc.

When these types of leaks aren’t cleaned up quickly, mold can start to grow and let off odors.

A Comprehensive Inspection Is Key


Every house has its own unique smells that reflect the nature of the home and those who live in it. Sometimes there are factors that change that smell, one of those being mold. Mold does not always have a strong smell but when it is present, its often described as musty.

Others have described mold smelling earthy, meaty or resembling the odor of wet socks or rotten wood. For many homeowners, the smell is unpleasant and pungent. As mold grows, it can emit gases known as microbial volatile organic compounds or MVOCs. Technically, it is not just mold you are smelling but the chemical compounds that are released at different stages of the molds growth.


Some people may think that they are able to air out the musty mold smell, but that isnt always the case. It is strongly recommended to get your air tested by a certified mold testing and inspection company.

It is better to act early than wait and see if the smell will go away on its own, because chances are it wont! Household cleaners or air fresheners will only mask the smell for a short period of time. Inhaling mold spores can be the cause of allergic reactions or symptoms like coughing, irritated eyes and throat, headaches and sneezing.


A persistently musty smell can also be an indication of mildew in your home

Don’t Miss: How To Clean Mildew From Vinyl

Tech Supported Mold Inspection

Sometimes, especially in its early stages, black mold is difficult to detect with the naked eye. In this case, our next step is using technology to aid our mold investigation. These tools help us find cool and damp areas in a home where mold might be growing.

Our inspectors will also gather samples that are analyzed by the lab. This will tell us without a doubt if mold is present.

How To Remove A Musty Smell From Your Home

What causes a mold smell when I turn my HVAC unit on

Possible sources of musty smells in your home: If you smell something musty, try looking for mold growth in the rooms pictured above!

It is not always fun to read about how mold and mildew can be affecting your home and health, but it is essential information to have. Now that we have gone over the basics, it is time to take action so you can get that musty smell out of your home.

Read Also: What Causes Mold On Ceiling In Bathroom

What Are The Symptoms Of Living In A House With Black Mold

The most common black mold symptoms and health effects are associated with a respiratory response. Chronic coughing and sneezing, irritation to the eyes, mucus membranes of the nose and throat, rashes, chronic fatigue and persistent headaches can all be symptomatic of black mold exposure or black mold poisoning.

Not Every Mold Smells Moldy

Not every mold produces MVOC. Moreover, an even mold that produces MVOC itself may stop producing it at certain condition.

If temperature or humidity in the room is not suitable for producing MVOCs, even MVOC-producing mold will not release the gas. Therefore, you might have mold problem without smelling anything strange in your room.

Read Also: Cleaning Mildew From Boat Seats

Does Mold Smell Like Cigarettes

4.5/5Cigarette Smokeodorsmellodormoldmoldodor

Subsequently, one may also ask, what does mold smell like?

Mold does not always have a strong smell but when it is present, it’s often described as musty. Others have described mold smelling earthy, meaty or resembling the odor of wet socks or rotten wood. For many homeowners, the smell is unpleasant and pungent.

One may also ask, why does my house smell like cigarette smoke when I don’t smoke? For several months I’ve smelled cigarette smoke when no one is smoking. You may be experiencing phantosmia or phantom smell, defined as smelling something that simply isn’t there.

In respect to this, why does my house smell like smoke?

The smell or smoke coming down the chimney is a result of your house loosing too much air from the unsealed attic hatch. That air has to be replenished because your house is not going to implode, and so it is going to reenter the house whichever way it can.

Can mold smell like chemicals?

In general, the smell of mold is unpleasant, and smells like something is moist in the room. There are many of these compounds, or chemicals, that are released as mold grows, but some of the most common have smells that are pungent and musty.

Musty Smell In Bathroom

4 Tips on How to Get Rid of Mold Smell in the House ...

Musty odors in a bathroom is a common issue that a lot of homeowners will experience due to the high moisture levels that are present in this small, enclosed space. This distinct smell can come from towels, floor mats, and even curtains that may be found in the bathroom that have accumulated moisture within the fabric. Additionally, a bathroom can be an ideal place for mold to grow and thrive which can create that unpleasant aroma of mustiness in the air of the environment.

Read Also: How To Clean Black Mold In Shower Grout

Is That Mold You Smell Why Mold Smells And How To Remove It

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.

  • E. How to Prevent Mold Smell from Returning
  • What Does Mold Smell Like Mold Blogger

    Other possible descriptions of the smell of mold are: an earthy or a fetid stench similar to the smell of rotting organic matter, such as wood. Mold most often grows as the result of water damage or a moisture issue, so another possible indication of mold would be a damp scent, much like the smells that follow a heavy rainfall.

    You May Like: How To Clean Mold Off Bathroom Ceiling

    How To Get Rid Of Mold

    First of all, a pair of glove and respirator masks arerecommended to ensure you dont come in contact with the mold or inhale themold spores. To get rid of mold, you will need bleach, a bowl of water, vacuum,wire brush and a plastic bag for collection and disposal of the mold.

    Use the wire brush to scrub the loose mold spore from thesurface, use the plastic bag to collect the mold and dispose of it immediately.Then vacuum the entire room against any loose mold spores, to avoid it fromfloating around in the room or any other area of the house.

    Mix a considerable amount of bleach into the bowl of water,use the solution to clean the area. Most importantly, ensure the area is drybefore rinsing it off with water. A dry surface doesnt attract mold growth buta damp surface does allow more mold to grow.

    Once youre done cleaning, ensure to properly dispose of any item that comes in contact with molds, such as a sponge, scrub brushes and rags.

    What Does Mold Smell Like In Carpet + Cleaning Tips

    Does a musty smell under my floors mean there’s mold or mildew?

    What does mold smell like in carpet? Most times, mold smells like a pungent musty or sour odor. This smell makes it easier to identify. However, you do need to be careful when trying to sniff out mold in your carpet. According to Tom Ross on SFGate, Mold and mildew stains are composed of spores which can cause health issues when too much are inhaled. For this reason, its important not to place your nose closer than 2 inches from the carpet.

    Also Check: How To Get Mold Out Of Boat Seats

    What Should I Do If I Suspect Mold In My House

    After all, mold in your home can make you and your family sick.

    Mainly, he advises:

  • Caulk around the water fixtures. That is, your kitchen and bathroom sink, or any sinks or showers in any rooms.
  • Clean out the gutters.
  • Take care of any roof leaks.
  • Do you have a crawl space under the home?
  • Clearing Mold From Clothes

    If youve spotted mold on your garments, you may dry clean, hand wash, or use a washer. Although the drying process comes last, its role is critical.

    Dry Cleaning

    Have you recently found mold on your clothes and are afraid to touch it? Place it in a sealed plastic bag and let your dry cleaner handle it.

    If the moldy area isnt that obvious, do tell your dry cleaner about the fungal growth. If you dont, other peoples clothes could be contaminated.

    Washing Machine

    This might be the most convenient method of removing the fungus. Only place infected clothes inside your washer you dont want to spread the spores onto clean clothes. Unless youre cleaning delicate garments, select the hottest mode.

  • Use detergent: Place your regular cleaning agent in the outside receptacle within the drawer or directly inside the machine.
  • Fill with water: Let the machine fill up and the detergent will naturally mix with the water.
  • Additional ingredients: Once your clothes are soaked, stop the washer and add borax, vinegar, essential oils, or other substances, as mentioned above.
  • Wash: Run your washer for two full cycles.
  • Smell Check

    Hand Washing

    The hand washing technique can also be used before or after cleaning your clothes in the washer. If you only have one cloth or towel to clean, a bucket with hot water might suffice.

  • Scrub: Using a brush with gentle bristles, try removing as much mold as possible.
  • Soak: Wait for at least 20 minutes or up to a few hours.
  • Drying Guidelines

    You May Like: How To Mold Leather Holster

    What Does Toxic Mold Smell Like

    Probably what youd expect it to smell like, actually: earthy, damp, tangy kind of like dirty socks or rotting wood. These unpleasant smells come from the microbial volatile organic compounds mold releases as it grows. Of course, different molds and mildews can have different smells to different people.

    Can Smelling Mold Harm You

    What Does Mold Smell Like In A House?

    Mold Reactions: Whos at Risk? For people sensitive to mold, inhaling or touching mold spores can cause allergic reactions, including sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash. People with serious mold allergies may have more severe reactions, including shortness of breath.

    Recommended Reading: How To Clean Black Mold On Shower Grout

    Where Can Mold Hide In Your Home

    14 Surprising Places Where Mold Hides in the HomeUnder the Sink. 1/15. Inside the Toothbrush Holder. 2/15. In Your Filing Cabinets. 3/15. On Toys. 4/15. On Appliance Seals and Drip Pans. 5/15. On Floor Mats. 6/15. On Carpets and Upholstery. 7/15. Beneath Wallpaper and Drywall. 8/15.More items

    Indications Of Water Issues

    If your home has ever had any issues with moisture, condensation or some other water problems, you can almost be certain that somewhere, mold has started to grow. Therefore, if you know you presently have water issues, or had them in the past, you probably have mold and should probably hire professional mold inspectors to make sure your home is safe.. Strong indications that you have mold due to water issues include discolored walls, ceilings, or floors along with any water stains. Visually seeing any of these signs means there are colonies of mold growing either behind or within these materials.

    Other indicators of moisture issues are bubbling, cracking, or peeling wallpaper or paint. If you notice that your walls are warped, bulging, or bowed, it likely means that moisture has penetrated the surface. When hiring professional mold inspectors look for those who will give you realistic advice on how to prevent mold in trouble areas. Sometimes its as easy as buying a dehumidifier to get rid of extra moisture. A good inspector can give further advice.

    Also Check: How To Install Vinyl Stair Nose Molding

    Air Purifier For Musty Smell

    An air purifier is another great resource that can be used in a home or other personal indoor environment to help improve the indoor air quality while also removing pollutants and odors from the air. The OdorKlenz Mobile Air System is a great air quality solution when it comes to removing odorous smells from the air space. This revolutionary air purifier uses a patented earth mineral technology that is effective at capturing, containing, and neutralizing a broad spectrum of noxious and toxic chemicals and odors from the air including the musty odors that can be found in a house, along with other household odors. In addition to the use of this earth mineral technology for odor and chemical neutralization, the OdorKlenz Mobile Air System also contains a HEPA filter for fine particulate removal larger than 0.3 microns in size at a 99.99 percent efficiency.

    Simply place the OdorKlenz Mobile Air System in your home, moving it from room to room to remove the chemical and odors in the environment, quickly and effectively.

    Mobile Air System

    Popular Articles
    Related news