Mold Odor Removal

Mold odor removal is an important concern if you have mold growing in your home after water damage. Even if you can’t see the mold, one of the telltale signs of mold growth in your home is that damp, musty smell. It may make visitors think you don’t clean your home often enough, and the smell can permeate well beyond where the mold is growing and even get into your personal belongings. Getting rid of mold odor is an important step in dealing with mold from water damage.

What Causes Mold Odor?

While mold spores can become airborne and travel like dust throughout your home, the odor itself comes from gasses produced by mold called volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The musty odor is unpleasant on its own, but it’s also a signal that you have bigger problems. Consider the damp, musty smell to be an alert that there is mold growing somewhere in your home – and you need to locate it and get rid of it.

leak under bathroom sinkLeak under bathroom sink

Mold can cause major damage to your home. Whether the cause is a leaky pipe, a flood, septic tank backup or storm water, mold can grow on almost any surface including vinyl floor tiles, wood, carpeting, drywall/sheetrock, ceiling tile, painted surfaces, upholstered furniture, clothing, insulation and paper. Left unchecked, the mold will continue to grow, and can erode the structural integrity of support beams, trusses, walls, ceilings, floors and more.

In addition, mold in the home is a known health hazard. While you may first encounter the musty smell of mold odor, you may soon find yourself sneezing, coughing or wheezing because mold acts as an allergen. Mold spores can be inhaled, causing nasal and sinus congestion, asthma symptoms, red/itchy eyes, and more. The longer you are exposed to mold, the worse your symptoms may get. In younger children, elderly individuals, and people with other health issues or weakened immune systems, mold can cause more serious, long-term health problems.

Can You Hide the Mold Odor?


Air fresheners, scented candles, Febreze spray, potpourri and similar products may help your home smell better temporarily, but they are just masking the problem. The unpleasant odor will return after the air fresheners run out because the mold is still in your home.

Mold is a serious problem and the musty odor is just the tip of the iceberg. You must get rid of the mold to accomplish mold odor removal.

Find the Source of Mold Odor

If your home smells damp and musty, you must find the source of the odor by identifying where you have mold growing. If your home has recently experienced water damage, look in that area. Check the floor, walls, ceiling and furniture. Anything that is still damp is a potential home to mold. Also look in areas of your home that tend to be dark and damp, such as the basement, attic, and bathrooms. The mold may be easily visible, but it might also be behind the walls, under the floor or in other hidden areas. We recommend you reach out to a mold remediation specialist for help with hard-to-find mold.

Mold typically looks like spots or splotches. It may be fuzzy or smooth, and the color can be green, orange, white, brown, black or almost anything else. Identifying the specific species of mold is not necessary; all types of mold should be removed.

Even a small area of mold can produce enough VOCs to make your home smell bad. And the only way to accomplish mold odor removal is to eliminate the mold.

mold on painted basement wallMold on painted basement wall

How to Get Rid of Mold Odor

Once you identify the source of the mold, you can begin to work to get rid of it. If mold is growing on a hard, non-porous surface such as glass or tile, you can attempt to clean it using a mold removal product or a diluted bleach solution. You must scrub until the all mold is gone, otherwise it will grow back.

Mold growing on soft, porous or fabric items like upholstered furniture, carpeting, mattresses, etc. may not be able to be cleaned and will need to be removed and replaced. Drywall and structural parts of your home may need to be cut away and replaced if the mold growth has penetrated the material.

For a small area of mold damage, you may choose to handle the mold problem yourself. First, make sure you have the correct personal protection equipment, including gloves, goggles and an N-95 or better respiratory mask to prevent inhaling mold spores. Contain the mold as you clear the damaged area using plastic sheeting and tape to prevent the spores from spreading through the house. Airborne mold spores can be contained by setting up a negative air filtration system (the air in the room is constantly being moved outside using a vacuum or air scrubber). More specific information on mold remediation can be found here.

If the mold is growing over a large area (10 square feet or larger), is located in a critical part of your home such as the HVAC system, or was caused by contaminated water or sewage, the EPA recommends that you call in a mold remediation professional to remove the mold for you. Also, if you have any health concerns that mold can make worse, make sure you ask your doctor before you attempt to remove it yourself.

Preventing Mold Odor

The best way to prevent mold odor is to eliminate dampness in your home and prevent mold growth. Keep humidity levels below 50%, using a dehumidifier or air conditioner as necessary. Install exhaust fans in your bathrooms and keep windows and doors open when possible to allow shower moisture to escape.

Always fix leaky pipes, and clean up water spills, appliance leaks and floods from storms as soon as possible. This way mold won’t get a chance to start growing.

How to Get Help

If your home smells musty and you suspect mold is the cause, call 877-960-0491 to get immediate, 24-hour help. You’ll be connected to a local expert that can answer your questions and help you get professional assistance with your mold issue.

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