mold odor removal

Mold odor removal can be a serious issue if you’ve had mold growing in your home. Those characteristic mold odors can leave your entire home smelling musty and as if you have not cleaned your house in a long time. We’ll explain what causes that distinctive musty smell and we’ll tell you how to get rid of it. We’ll also tell you what doesn’t work when trying to remove the smell of mold.

What Causes That Mold Odor?

Mold produces gasses called microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOC’s) 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.

What Doesn’t Work

Let us start by saying that nothing will work if there is still mold in the home. If you think you’ve removed all of the mold but a musty odor lingers, chances are there is more mold somewhere. You need to find it and remove it.

That said, people try all sorts of things to get rid of those unpleasant mold odors. Here are some things people try that just don’t work. These things may temporarily cover up the musty odor but the smell will still be there when the smell of air freshener or other scents dissipate.  

mold odor removal
  • Air fresheners, including sprays and plug-in types
  • Febreeze or similar sprays meant to remove odors
  • Scented candles
  • Potpourri
  • Incense
  • Carpet fresheners
  • Opening windows and turning on fans (in fact, turning on a fan is a bad idea if there is mold in the room because it can blow mold spores around, spreading the mold throughout the room)
  • Using bleach or other strong-smelling cleaning products (using a cleaning product that kills mold is a good idea, but only if the mold is thoroughly removed rather than just hoping the smell of the bleach will cover up the smell of the mold)
  • Air Purifiers will remove some of the odors when turned on, but the mold will still be in your home and can still cause health issues.

What Works

So what does work when it comes to mold odor removal? You’ve got to get rid of all of the mold.

  • Use a mold removal product known to kill common strains of household mold. Here you can read more about mold removal products.
  • Remove moldy materials that cannot be adequately cleaned. It is very difficult or impossible to completely remove mold from porous materials like carpet, the padding beneath carpet, insulation, drywall, and soft furnishings like couch cushions and mattresses. Even if those items look clean, a small amount of mold likely remains in the pores of the materials. To be safe, these items should be removed and replaced.
  • Follow this link for more mold removal tips.
  • Look for hidden mold. Mold often grows in hard-to-see places, like behind wallpaper, inside walls, under capers, under floorboards, and inside heating, ventilation and air conditioning ducts. You can learn more about how to inspect your home for mold.
  • If you suspect hidden mold but can’t find it, we recommend calling in a mold remediation professional to help you search. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends having a professional assist with searching for hidden mold because there are health risks involved. As an example, if you pull up carpet or peel back wallpaper and there is mold underneath, you will stir up a lot of mold spores and they can make you sick if you inhale them.
  • Call in a professional if you think there might be mold in your heating, ventilation and air conditioning ducts. It can be difficult to inspect ductwork for mold and special equipment is needed to clean moldy ducts. Most homeowners simply aren’t equipped for the job.
  • You can also have your home tested for mold to see if mold is in fact present somewhere. You can read more about mold testing here.

For Help with Mold Odor Removal

If you need assistance locating hidden mold or if you need help with mold removal, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends consulting a professional that adheres to the guidelines established by industry organizations like the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ask professionals if they follow those guidelines before deciding to hire them). That way you know the work will be done correctly. You can follow this link to schedule a free in-home consultation with a qualified mold removal professional in your area. There’s no cost and no obligation.

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