How to Identify Mold Through Scent How to Identify Mold Through Scent

Knowing how to identify mold can help one control it at an early stage. The growth of mold is one of the major problems which affects the health of people as well as the maintenance of the house. Identifying mold through scent is the first step in detecting and fighting off the mold. However, smell cannot be used as the only way of detecting molds. There are some types of molds which do not give out any odor; such molds can be identified only through visible signs or mold test kits.

Step 1 – Check for Reactions on Entering the Room

The nose will identify the mold before anything else. If there’s mold inside the house, you may experience sneezing or nose irritation on entering the room.

Step 2 - Check for Musty, Earthy Smell

In case the house has some unpleasant smell which never seems to go away, there is a possibility that the mold has grown. It is difficult to recognize the smell of mold for those who haven’t experienced it before, but once familiar, it is difficult to forget this smell. Molds give a musty, earthy odor. It smells similar to the smell which one experiences while walking through a dense forest. Mold odor is quite unpleasant like that of rotten wood or paper. Some feel the smell of mold similar to that of cedar while some compare it to the smell of wet socks. Molds give out a smell as though there is something moist in the room.

Step 3 – Recognize the Smell

When there is mold growth inside the house, there is a continuous smell which doesn’t fade even after opening all the windows and ventilating the rooms. Also, a mold smell is such that people easily get used to the smell. Hence when suspecting mold at home, it is better to first go outdoors, take fresh air to clear your nostrils and then come back to the room and experience the smell. If there is some musty smell at home, start looking for the areas which have mold growth.

Step 4 - Follow the Nose and Spot the location

Follow the nose to detect the areas where mold has grown. Once the smell is felt, go in the direction where the smell is increasing. Stop at the place where the smell is intense. Mold is somewhere around the area where the intense smell is felt. Look around for any visible signs of mold. Molds emerge as spotted areas and may vary in colors. Molds generally appear black, white, grey-brown, grey-green, orange, purple, pink or greenish black. Check if any such colors changes are found; you may need to use a flashlight to see in darkened corners and behind furniture.

Additionally, some forms of molds are not easily visible and hence it is advisable to use flashlight to inspect areas that may not be very dark so that they are easily identified. The areas which are a must to inspect for mold are moist and damp areas since the molds generally grow with moisture. Check water pipes, sinks, supply valves, carpet, floor and other areas with water leakages. Check for smell in the attics, furniture and also boxes or bags containing old news papers, clothes etc. If they give out a musty smell, have a thorough check to see if they have mold growth.  

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