Home Diy: Guide To Removing Mold And Mildew Smells In Your Home
Have you successfully treated the mold or mildew in your home, only to discover that the smell still lingers? Musty mold and mildew odors are hard to get rid ofeven after the mold and mildew is gone!
Areas of our home that are more vulnerable to moisture such as our bathroom, laundry and basement or crawl space are usually the ones that retain musty mold and mildew smells the longest.
Trust us, we know removing these odors is easier said than done. Which is why we want to help you eliminate these smells around your home for good!
Below, we have steps and helpful tips to help you remove musty mold and mildew smells in your bathroom, laundry and basement on your own. With any luck, this guide will help you get your home smelling fresh and clean once again!
What Causes High Humidity In The Home
Think back to that locker room smell again
What happens in that locker room besides horseplay by kids?
Showering, or so we can only hope!
Well hot showers can create high relative humidity within bathrooms. If the bathroom isn’t ventilated properly this can create a dew point.
Bathrooms can be a prime source of high humidity, but most bathrooms are built to withstand it.
One of the main causes of high humidity is an air conditioning unit that is not properly functioning. If your air conditioning is not dehumidifying properly it could also be a sign that is it undersized or oversized.
How To Get Rid Of Musty Smell In Carpets
If the smell is coming from a carpet, address it immediately. The smell comes from excess moisture and the carpet could be harboring mold and mildew. If the carpet was completely soaked you may have to remove it and replace it.
Take these steps to get rid of musty smells from your carpet.
- Dry out the entire area. If necessary call a water damage remediation specialist.
- When the carpet is dry, vacuum it thoroughly.
- Mix one cup of white vinegar to 2 cups of water and add the mixture to a spray bottle. Spray a light mist over the carpet.
- Add baking soda to the carpet. It wont harm your carpet or pets!
- Allow the baking soda and vinegar to sit for a few hours, up to overnight.
- If the smell persists, repeat with hydrogen peroxide and water. It is one part of hydrogen peroxide to 5 parts of water.
- An alternative is to use a foam carpet cleaner according to directions.
- If the odor still persists, it is time to call the mold remediation professionals.
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Laundry Drains And Front Load Washers
Many front load washers retain a little water at the base of the unit. Over time, this water grows bacteria, leading to musty smells in your laundry area. We had problems with this in our first front loader. The new unit has a small drain hose, and I clear the stale water out every couple weeks.
An improperly installed drain hose may trap water in the line or allow sewer gases to escape into the home. Make sure drain lines are installed correctly.
Some Precautionary Measures To Prevent Mold Growth
Mold and mildew is found both indoors and outdoors, from the doors, walls, ceiling, cupboards, to the backyard and garden shedit is everywhere! You can adopt these preventive measures to reduce mold growth:
- Open the doors and windows, let the sunlight stream in
- Cover your nose and mouth properly before you begin the cleaning spree.
- Fix the leaking roofs, windows and pipes to prevent mold on walls
- Fix the ventilation issues, add exhaust fans and ventilators in bathroom and kitchen
- Clean the corners thoroughly, especially after floods
- Take steps to control the humidity levels, keep the house warm and dry,
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How To Prevent Another Infestation In The House
When there is a water intrusion or leak in your home, steps should be taken promptly to prevent any potential mold-related problems that can arise.
The main objective is to fix any moisture problems promptly and then dry materials within 24 hours of them getting wet.
The dry out should be done quickly because when items remain wet for long periods, mold will begin to grow.
Repair all plumbing leaks when they occur.
Frequently inspect windows and AC vents for condensation.
Ensure the air conditioning system is serviced as recommended by the manufacturer. AC systems help to remove excess humidity that can lead to mold growth.
Dont block air vents with clutter, drapes, or furniture. Blocking air vents can cause restricted airflow that will promote mold growth.
Keep the air conditioning drip pans and condensate drain lines clean and free of obstructions.
Maintain humidity levels between 30 to 50 percent.
Clean and dry wet materials within 24 to 48 hours. Mold will begin to grow on items that remain wet for 48 hours or longer.
Vent dryers, range hoods, and bathroom exhaust to the exterior.
Run the bathroom exhaust fans during and after taking a shower .
Avoid placing carpet in moisture-prone areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, and unconditioned basements.
Frequently clean gutters to ensure proper water drainage.
What Else Can Cause A Musty Odor In The Home
As a mold assessor, the number one culprit that I find is causing musty smells in homes during a mold inspection is:
Humidity is how the amount of water vapor measured in the air.
Humidity itself can lead to mold growth on both hard surfaces
Mold generally will only be on the surface of hard surfaces and in most cases but may let off what people describe as a mildew smell.
High humidity for an extended period of time could lead to mold growth on porous items such as couches, beds, clothes, etc.
There are many times however by just controlling the humidity within the home that the smell will vanish. The smell of dampness is mostly related to humidity.
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Growth Spots Of Varying Colors
Black mold, as the name implies, is often dark in color. When searching for black mold, look for circular-shaped spots that are black, dark green or dark brown. Some black mold can also take on shades of orange or have flecks of white within it.
Most of the time, black mold has a slightly furry appearance. Larger growths of mold may appear as a black stain that stretches along your wall, floor or ceiling.
Call A Pro If There’s A Lot Of Mold And Mildew
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Got Moisture Odor And Mold Issues
When moisture seeps into wall cavity and rises via capillary draw.
You dont have to wait until you can detect a black mold smell before you make a move. This is why I believe everybody should have their homes checked at least once a year for black mold.
However, if your home starts to give off an out-of-place musty odor, then its imperative tocontact a mold testing expert to have it checked right away. The health and safety of you and everyone in your house depends on it.
How To Get Musty Smells Out Of Clothes
Your house smells oh so fresh and clean, but your shirts have you wrinkling your nose. Whatâs going on?
- A pinch of apple cider vinegar
- One cup of white vinegar
- One cup of baking soda
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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.
Olfactory And Visual Investigation:
We then conduct a visual inspection of your home and see if we can smell any musty odors that indicate mold growth.
When mold is visible or odorous, it means the issue has been going on for a while. So, this investigation helps us determine where mold is growing in your home and the level of severity.
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What Do I Do When I Suspect Mold Is In My Home
The first thing to do in any situation is to check for visible leaks or spots. If you cannot identify it, does not mean there is not anything wrong. Spraying an air freshener or using regular cleaning methods will not be appropriate because you need special methods to remove it properly.
Hire a professional inspector to run tests on your walls, or any place that may have gotten moisture inside. Professionals will be able to identify where the spots are, as well as the larger problem causing it. You may have poor insulation throughout your home that needs fixing or a leak that has gone unchecked. After your home is remediated, schedule regular appointments with a specialist to make sure everything is clean.
Deal With Moisture Issues Asap
You can do a deep clean every day of the week, and it still wouldnt be enough to get rid of the musty smell if your home has a moisture problem. Why? Because moisture is one of the main ingredients of mold and mildew. As soon as you spot any leaks or anything else causing excess moisture, call a professional reparation service like All Dry USA to resolve it quickly.
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Is Living With Mold Dangerous
Breathing in mold spores can cause health problems for some individuals. The symptoms of mold-related illness are frequently respiratory issues, irritated eyes, rashes, sinus congestion, sneezing and headaches. There are certain types of molds that release mycotoxins that have been known to cause severe neurological problems.
Whether or not individuals are affected by mold is dependent on a number of factors:
- the type of mold
- the duration and severity of exposure
- the sensitivity of the individual
At greater risk are people with compromised immune systems, asthma, the elderly, small children and pregnant women. If you are concerned about a musty smell in your home, you can schedule an inspection to conduct proper mold testing.
How Common Is Mold In Buildings
Molds are very common in buildings and homes. Mold will grow in places with a lot of moisture, such as around leaks in roofs, windows, or pipes, or where there has been flooding. Mold grows well on paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, and wood products. Mold can also grow in dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery.
The most common indoor molds are Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Aspergillus. We do not have precise information about how often different molds are found in buildings and homes.
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How To Prevent Musty Smells From Coming Back
Congratulations! You did the thing and banished that musty smell!Now that youâve successfully rid your home of mustiness, though, you want to keep it that way. A few rules of thumb will help keep your living space smelling its freshest:
Know Where Old House Smell Comes From
Its almost impossible to remove a smell if you dont know where its coming from and whats causing it. Older homes are typically darker and normally dont have very good ventilation systems compared to more modern ones. Herein lies the problem. Poor ventilation leads to dampness and, when combined with darkness, mold can flourish. Thats right the old-house smell is typically caused by mold. Fortunately, there are ways to get rid of it.
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What Causes That Mold Odor
Mold produces gasses called microbial volatile organic compounds and these gasses typically have noticeable, distinctive odors. Microbial volatile organic compounds themselves are not harmful but the mold that produces them can be. Mold can cause all sorts of health problems and it can also cause serious damage to your home.
S To Remove Mildew Odors In Your Bathroom Naturally
Lets start with the bathroom. The bathroom in your home is one of the most vulnerable to moisture due to high levels of humiditythe steam from showers, water in the toilet, sink and tub, the water that drips on the floor after you use the sink or shower and more. All of this excess moisture explains why mold and mildew in the bathroom is so common!
If youve removed mold or mildew in your bathroom, but are still experiencing certain smells, here are three steps to getting rid of it:
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What Causes Mold Smells
Many people believe that all mold smells are caused by mold spores, but this is not the case. While some mold smells are caused by mold spores, most mold smells are caused by microbial volatile organic compounds , which are chemicals produced by molds various biological processes. They could be byproducts of the molds digestion, growth or reproduction. And depending on where the mold is in its life cycle, it may produce different odours or seemingly no odours at all.
People sometimes think that if they cant smell the mold, then it cant harm them. This, however, is completely false. Most health risks of mold are caused by mold spores, while most mold smells are produced by MVOCs. During a mold colonys reproductive stage, it produces fewer MVOCs and more spores, so a mold colony is actually most harmful when it is least smelly.
While mold odours are a great early warning of mold growth, you should avoid relying solely on your sense of smell to detect potential mold growth in your home. The only way to really be sure that your home is free of mold is to have it inspected by qualified mold professionals. These professionals can use sophisticated detection methods, such as laboratory air testing and surface sampling, which are thousands of times more sensitive than your sense of smell.
Controlling The Moisture Levels:
A simple and obvious solution for curbing the mold and mildew growth in the corners is to control the moisture levels of the house. Fungi usually thrive in wet and humid environment, this means bathrooms, kitchen areas and garden shed are more prone to fungal growth. Install exhaust fans and ensure that there are no leakages and damp ceiling in the house. Ensure that there are no damp spots, wet rugs or clothes lying about the house. Keep your house as dry as possible.
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Does A Musty Smell Mean I Have Mold
Mold is the most common reason for a musty smell in your home. But all homes have some mold and since the mold has a low odor threshold, the musty smell does not mean it is already out of control. What you may be smelling are MVOCs, or mold volatile organic compounds. These are the chemicals that are released at a certain stage in the life of mold that is volatile enough to evaporate but also have an odor that is strong enough to be noticed in a home. This is often not dangerous and can be easily addressed.
If the odor persists and is stronger you likely have mold and should look for the source of moisture that is causing it. You may also be experiencing an old house smell which is not necessarily a sign of the mold but can be from a number of causes.
Old house smells can stem from the combination of limited ventilation, high humidity, and darkness. Sunlight and ventilation can often clear this up. The smell may be associated with the carpet, furniture or drapes. Check them out and have them cleaned if so. Do a deep cleaning and deep declutter and that may solve your problem.