Do you know that black mold smell? It’s a musty odor you might associate with dank basements, crawl spaces or garages, places perhaps not cleaned very often, places with too much moisture and a perpetual damp feeling. You may not have realized that is the smell of mold, however. But it is. If you smell that musty odor, there is almost certainly mold nearby, even if you don’t see it.
We’ll tell you what causes those black mold odors and how to get rid of them.
First let us say that black mold, technically called stachybotrys chartarum, smells the same as, or very similar to, other types of mold. You can’t tell what kind of mold you’re dealing with just by smelling it. If you want to know if it is stachybotrys chartarum or some other type of mold, you will need to have the mold tested. You can read more about black mold testing here.
All types of mold, including black mold, produce gasses called microbial volatile organic compounds, or MVOC’s. These gasses tend to have distinctive, unpleasant odors. The microbial volatile organic compounds produced by mold have a characteristic musty odor that is easily recognized.
Microbial volatile organic compounds are not harmful, although most people dislike the smell of mold. Even though the MVOC’s aren’t harmful, thought, black mold is hazardous. Molds produce mold spores, which are similar to the seeds of plants except they are very tiny, smaller than grains of pollen. Those spores are easily inhaled and inhalation of mold spores can lead to all sorts of respiratory problems. In addition, stachybotrys chartarum produces chemical compounds called mycotoxins, toxic substances found on the spores of black mold. The bottom line is that the gasses that cause the musty smell are not harmful but the mold that produces the gasses can be hazardous to your health. Follow this link to learn more about mold-related health problems.
The only way to really get rid of the black mold smell is to get rid of the mold. People often try to eliminate or cover up the unpleasant musty odor with air fresheners, incense, scented candles or air sprays like Febreeze. These are temporary fixes at best, however, and all the health risks associated with black mold remain even if you can’t smell the mold for a while. The unpleasant odor will return once the more pleasant scent dissipates.
Cleaning products often have strong scents and may temporarily cover up the smell of black mold. Unless you use a product known to kill black mold, however, and make sure to remove all traces of the mold, this will only be a temporary fix. When the smell of the cleaning product dissipates, the musty odor of black mold will return.
After you’ve removed the black mold completely from your home, the musty odor should be gone. If you still smell something musty, open some windows and give the house a little time to air out. Don’t attempt to cover up the smell with air fresheners or other scented products.
If you continue to smell something musty, it is likely that you overlooked some mold and the home is not yet mold-free. Mold often grows in hard-to-spot places, like behind wallpaper, inside walls, under carpet, under floorboards and inside heating, ventilation and air conditioning ducts.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency suggests hiring a professional to help you search for hidden mold. That’s because it can be difficult to find hidden mold and because the very process of uncovering hidden mold can pose health risks. For instance, peeling wallpaper away from the wall can reveal hidden mold and release hundreds of thousands of microscopic mold spores into the air, where they are easily inhaled and can make you quite sick.
As we’ve said, in order to get rid of that black mold smell, you’ve got to get rid of the mold. You can find some black mold removal tips here. You can also get some personalized tips from an expert by scheduling a free in-home consultation with a mold removal professional. An experienced professional will visit your home, inspect for mold, advise you about the mold removal work that needs to be done, and answer your questions, all at no cost to you. If you need help with the mold removal, you can choose to enlist the services of the professional. If you prefer, you can opt to do the work yourself. Either way, you’ll benefit from professional advice. To find qualified mold removal professionals offering free consultations near you, just follow the link.