Person sneezing due to mold

What Does Mold in Walls Smell Like?

Everyone’s house has its own smell. Often, we grow so used to it that we don’t smell it anymore, except after returning home from visits or vacations. Sometimes, though, a house can have unpleasant and unwanted smells, and you are not sure where it comes from!

It is possible this unpleasant smell could be mold. It smells different in its various growth stages. Eventually, it can be harmful to breathe in the air in your home if you do not take care of the problem! You should be able to identify these smells and know what to do when you notice it on your property.

What Does Mold in Walls Smell Like?

Talking about what something smells like is largely subjective. However, if you ask anyone what mold smells like, they will probably answer “musty,” or “like a basement.” A more complicated answer involves identifying the different varieties, and the range of things it can smell like.

It is also important to distinguish that you are not actually smelling mold when you encounter a musty smell. It is the microbial volatile organic compounds, or mVOCs, which it produces. Based on these, it may smell earthy, greasy, or even like cat urine.

The different kinds of mVOCs mold produces is based on the moisture in the air and where it is growing. It is produced when the substance is actively growing, which means mVOCs are a kind of waste. This also means you will have to have your home inspected as soon as possible to stop everything from growing further.

How Do I Know Mold is in my Walls?

Sometimes, your home will smell wet or earthy because of a storm. Most people will be able to tell if something smells off rather than normal. One sign is that the smell does not air out when you open the windows. MVOC smell is persistent, no matter what you do.

You will most likely feel like you are breathing in damp or stale air, even when you ventilate the home. This can irritate your throat and nose and make you cough or sneeze. It also seems to come from all over the home, rather than in one isolated area or wall.

Is the Smell Harmful?

Most of the time, just the smell is not enough to harm you. However, the smell is an indication of a larger problem which can eventually affect your health. Research suggests that smelling mVOCs is linked to symptoms like nausea, fatigue, dizziness, headaches, and nasal irritation. Long term exposure to it is what ends up harming people in their homes.

Most of the time, exposure will cause irritation to the skin, eyes, and airways. Severe reactions include difficulty breathing and even fever. Immunocompromised individuals may develop serious lung infections.

Multi Colored Mold Growth

Can Mold Behind Walls Make You Sick?

Just because you are not in close contact with a substance, does not mean it is not harmful. Even when it is behind walls, mold can make you sick. It can also make you ill even if you see it and it does not smell like anything.

You are especially at risk if you have asthma or allergies. Other people especially vulnerable to the substance include young children, the elderly, people with lung diseases, or people with compromised immune systems. It can even cause breathing complications in pets.

Having it inside your walls can also cause structural issues on your property. It will feed on the wooden structure in your house until it rots and breaks down. You will then have to keep repainting and repairing walls! In this way, it can make both you and your house sick when left unchecked.

How Can I Prevent Mold in my Walls?

You should participate in routine building maintenance to ensure you do not have a problem. It grows where there is moisture left for a long period. That is why you should attend to water damage and leaks right away.

Make sure you are also controlling the humidity level in your home. This means putting better ventilation in places like the laundry room, kitchen, and bathroom. Always run the air conditioner or a dehumidifier in hot summer months.

In case of a flood, make sure you wash and dry everything thoroughly. Hire a professional to clean your house after a flood and ensure there is no moisture left in your house.

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.

In Conclusion

The smell of mold is earthy or musty and often persists throughout your entire home. Without proper care, you can make you and your family sick! Luckily, there are many ways to remediate your home and get it looking and smelling the way it normally does.

You should call an expert at the first sign of mold in your home. All Dry USA specializes in mold remediation to get rid of any stains or smells it causes. Call our team of professionals today to book an appointment or call anytime 24/7 for our emergency services.

Ben Suiskind
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