The smell of mold is typically described as “musty.” It's a stale and damp scent that lingers in the air. It's one of the first and the clearest sign of mold or mildew. If the initial scent is not very pungent, then it's likely that the mold has just started to form.
Why does my home smell musty? Mold and mildew smell stale and pungent, similar to the smell of rotting wood. It's most common smelled in either places where mold spores can colonize undisturbed like basements and closets, or in places where there is plenty of moisture like bathrooms.
The word is used to describe odors that suggest the presence of mold. This makes sense when you consider its origin. Musty is likely a variant of the word “moisty,” or “moist.”
Musty smells in houses may be attributed to several causes, including: Mold and mildew: Leaky pipes, a damaged roof, high humidity, and exposed dirt in the crawlspace may all contribute to moisture buildup. This moisture combined with the stagnant air and dark corners can lead to the growth of mold and mildew.
Locate the Source of the Musty Smell
Begin your search in areas that are often warm and moist, like a bathroom. Check for mildew growth in the shower, on the shower curtain, and leaks around sinks, tubs, and toilets. In the kitchen, look for leaks around the sink and dishwasher.
The most likely cause of a musty smell in a home is mold. Actively growing molds release Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds (MVOCs) that frequently have a distinct odor. The good news is that when damp conditions in a closed-up house cause mold or mildew to grow, it is usually someplace you can see it.
The musty smell that is harbored within your home's walls can be the cause of several factors residing in the environment and/or conditions that are present in the indoor space. Although most people's initial thought is that musty smells only come from mold development in the environment, this is simply not the case.
Mold smells are a bit like cheese in that they can vary a great deal but all share similar characteristics. Some smell sharp, like aged cheddar, while others, like mozzarella, have softer smells. But despite this variation, we all know what cheese smells like.
Mold does not always have a strong smell but when it is present, it's often described as musty. Others have described mold smelling earthy, meaty or resembling the odor of wet socks or rotten wood.
Most people describe the smell of mold as musty, stale, and earthy — somewhat similar the odor of wet socks or decaying wood. Although mold smells can vary, here are some of the most common characteristics: Musty and Stale — like old socks or a stuffy attic that hasn't been aired out in months.
Mold has a distinct smell. It's often described as musty and earthy, and may even smell like rotting vegetables or plants. You might notice a musty smell, but not be able to see any mold growing. In this case, you should look for areas that might be exposed to water.
That distinctive odor can be an indication of a mold problem. Certain types of mold have a smell similar to cat urine, including dangerous toxic black mold, which should be remediated by a professional. Another source of cat urine odor is ornamental boxwood, a common landscaping shrub.
Mold testing kits help you detect and identify growing spores in your home through samples collected via the air or from the surface in question. Some give you results right away, while others ask you to package the samples and send them back to a lab for a professional examination.
When it comes to mold fungus smells, some of them are quite distinctive. With mold fungus smells, you'll definitely know that something isn't right. You may associate the smell with a musty odour - like in the basement or attic space. Or you may experience something more unpleasant - like the odour from rotting wood.
If you don't see signs of mold but you can smell it, it may be hidden in your walls. A musty smell is a good indicator that mold is growing in your home. The smell of mold feels earthy, like rotting leaves or decaying wood in a dense, damp forest.
The amount of water used in a bathroom, especially hot water, can lead to a constantly humid environment. It can be a challenge to clear the air and keep things dry. But if you smell something musty, it's probably coming from the fungus that causes mold.
A lack of ventilation, darkness, and high humidity can all cause mold to flourish, which tends to be the root of that unpleasant “old house smell.” That scent is actually caused by mVOCs (Mold Volatile Organic Compounds), which is a chemical associated with the mold life cycle that is strong enough to emit a bad odor.
Dust — Dust is made up of all kinds of gross things: dead skin, pollen, pet hair and dander, insects, insect droppings, and dirt. And that's just the start. Not only does dust make your room look and feel dirty, it also affects the quality of your air and can cause a musty smell.
Mold. If you have ever noticed a musty smell in your home, there's a good chance that you have mildew or mold growing somewhere inside. Mold is one of the most common sources of smells in the house, and it can grow in many places but is most common in damp areas, especially the basement but also bathrooms and kitchens.
A common way to check for mold is to smell for it. A “musty” smell in an area of your home is often an indicator that there is some kind of mold present. Symptoms like a persistent runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing and throat irritation could also be indicative of mold.
Why does my drain smell of fish? If your kitchen or bathroom is reeking of fish, despite the lack of fish in that area, this could be an indication of a sewer gas leak, poor water quality or an electrical fault.