What Does Mold Smell Like?

Have you ever walked into a basement and wondered what that smell was? Perhaps you were cleaning out a closet in a long-forgotten corner of the house and noticed a smell that was just off? If there was a bad odor that you just couldn’t place, the culprit was likely mold growing. Most basements have that musty aroma, as do closets that do not get a lot of regular use. Many equate the smell of mold to what you smell when you open a dusty book that has been sitting on the shelves for years.

Why Does Mold Smell at All?

Noticing the smell of mold is the first step to taking action and saving your property. If you’re smelling mold, you might be wondering — why does mold even smell in the first place?

Mold smells because it spreads and reproduces by releasing spores. When mold spreads, its spores release gases called “microbial organic compounds” (MVOCs), which are responsible for that signature musty odor. When you’re smelling mold, what you’re technically smelling is the MVOCs released by the mold’s spores as they undergo digestive processes.

One thing to keep in mind about mold is that these spores don’t only cause smells. They can also quickly cause mold to spread throughout your home and take root in other areas of your property.  If you have mold in one area of your home, chances are, you have it in several. This is due to simply turning on the heat or air conditioning vents, as this blows the spores into every corner of your home.

Which Type of Mold Smells the Worst?

There are thousands of species of mold, and though they all share a general scent profile, the specific mold that you’re smelling may be able to be identified based on its characteristics. Many home service professionals consider black mold to be the worst smelling type of mold because it releases many toxins as its spores break down food material.

The rapid release of spores is one of the reasons why black mold is considered to be one of the most dangerous types of mold. Black mold typically puts off a very strong must-like odor, and many compare its smell to the smell of mildew. If left untreated, these released toxins don’t just smell — they can also cause illness to anyone living in the home.  

Is That Really Mold I’m Smelling?

If you do have a pungent smell in your home, don’t panic — many homeowners mistake the smell of mildew for the smell of mold. Both mold and mildew are members of the same fungal family and put out a similar musty odor. The primary difference between mold and mildew is that mildew tends to grow on the surface of structures in your home, while mold will penetrate the surface it’s growing on. If you aren’t sure if you’re smelling mold or mildew, you may want to consult with a professional waterproofing company. 

I Have Mold Smells in My Home What Should I Do?

If you notice the smell of mold, it is incredibly important that you seek out mold remediation services as soon as possible. Having mold in your home is a health hazard that could not only cause new health issues but also exacerbate existing ones. If anyone in your home has issues like asthma or emphysema, Rightway Waterproofing can help you create a safer environment for everyone living in your house. We can start off with waterproofing your basement, or we can seal any area of the house that may have mold present. If you already have mold in your basement, we can create a comprehensive treatment plan to help bring your home back up to safer standards.Are you ready to protect your home against summer showers and mold growth? Give our team a call now to learn more or get started!    

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John and Barbara Vicich

“We wanted to thank you for your personal and specialized attention to the water problem we had in our basement. You took the time to inspect the whole situation and gave us recommendations, all of which worked. You had a way of explaining the process and materials that would be used in a way that we understood. We are very pleased with the work that was done and would highly recommend your company to anyone.”

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Debbie, Berwyn

“The day after Hurricane Irene, all of my neighbors basements were filled with water, while mine remained dry! It is wonderful, everything remains dry and the battery backup worked beautifully when my power was out for 2 days. Dry AND quiet, thank you, thank you! Thanks! Debbie, Berwyn”

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Doug Smith, Glenside

“All I have to say is that Hurricane Irene was no match for the job that Rightway did for my basement and my father-in-law’s. I had my basement done 5 years ago and we are still bone dry and my father-inlaw’s was done last year and another dry basement… Great job! I highly recommend them for waterproofing and mold remediation.”

-Doug Smith, Glenside


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Angelo and Sandra Patiri

“We had our basement waterproofed with Rightway Waterproofing in 2007, after all this time and just getting through Hurricane Irene, we did not get a drop of water in our basement. Rightway Waterproofing did a very good job and we are very satisfied!”

-Angelo and Sandra Patiri