How To Get Rid of the Musty Smell from Mold and Mildew

If you have ever had a flood or water main break in your basement, you have undoubtedly encountered the strong, musty, earthy smell of mold and mildew. So once you smell it, how to get rid of mold smell in a house? 

A strong mold or mildew smell in a house is an early warning sign that mold is present. And although removing the smell of mold can be tricky, it can be done fairly quickly and safely–so long as you take the proper precautions, remove the source of the contamination, and sterilize all affected areas. 

While you can follow the above steps to address the smell of mold or mildew in your home, unless you know, without a doubt, that all the mold spores have been removed, the smell, and it’s companion, mold and mildew, will quickly return. 

So, while you can treat the smell of mold and mildew in your home, hiring a professional mold remediator is how to get rid of musty smell and the best way to make sure that ALL mold and mildew, visible or not, is removed from your home.

HRS Restoration Services employs certified and trained mold remediation specialists who test your air and surfaces for the presence of mold or mildew. HRS Restoration Services is available 24/7 to provide you with the peace of mind that mold and mildew in your home have been completely eradicated. We look forward to many more years serving homeowners and employers in Denver

Call HRS Restoration Services today for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Mold Vs. Mildew

While mold and mildew are often mentioned in the same breath, and share similarities, they are two different things. Both mold and mildew are both fungi that love dark, damp, porous surfaces. Both mold and mildew can leave a sudden musty smell in a house and cause adverse health reactions, but that is where the similarities end. 

Mold and mildew differ in appearance and grow in different ways. Mildew is white or gray early on and ends up a brownish color. Compare this to mold, that is greenish or black in color.  Unlike mold, mildew is flat on the surface and powdery to the touch. Rather than large bumpy mold spores, mildew is made up of smaller pinpoints. Mildew grows outward in circular bursts while mold usually appears as small dots that grow in a vertical pattern.

Why Does Mold & Mildew Smell? 

Mold and mildew smell because their spores are made up of MVOCs, microbial volatile organic compounds. MVOCs are strong chemicals that you can smell even if you can’t see mold or mildew yet. The pungent smell from mold and mildew spores wafts through the air and can attach to a pet or fabric. The ability to infiltrate porous materials is why it can be difficult to get rid of mildew smell.

Due to the rapid spread of mold and mildew, the spores are rarely isolated to a small area.

Are Mold & Mildew Dangerous? 

Common health effects from inhaling mold and mildew spores include itchy, watery, red eyes, coughing, and a scratchy throat. 

Inhaling mold and mildew spores can lead to dangerous health effects if a person is allergic or is already suffering from a respiratory illness like COPD or asthma. 

Mold and mildew can be dangerous depending on the health of the person exposed to them.

Getting Rid of The Mold & Mildew Smell

To get rid of musty smell, you must take a few steps. First, you need to identify and isolate the mold or mildew growth that is causing the smell.

By isolating it, you can remove it without causing it to become airborne and attach to another nearby surface. Next, you need to spray it with a mold cleaner of your choice. 

Allow the cleaner time to penetrate the surface of the mold or mildew. 

Then, you will need to scrub the mold affected area. Next you will need to rinse the cleaner with water and finally, you will dry the affected area. 

A surface that remains wet can easily become host to mold or mildew if this step is skipped.


Step #1 – Isolate the Mold or Mildew

Assess where there is mold or mildew and how far it has spread. Isolate the area so you can remove it without causing it to become airborne and attach to another nearby surface.


Step #2 – Wear Protective Clothing 

It is important to wear protective clothing when cleaning mold and working to remove smells that it leaves behind. Clothes should cover your arms and legs. Closed-toe shoes are also recommended when working to remove musty smell.


Step #3 – Spray Cleaner on the Mold Affected Area

There are many different mold and mildew cleaners. You can find these online or at your local home improvement store. There are different cleaners depending on the type of mold and the surface it is found on. 

You could also use a homemade cleaner with baking soda and vinegar. Many people also use bleach to clean mold and mildew.

No matter what cleaner you use, don’t mix cleaning agents as this could result in a reaction of toxic chemicals.

Step #4 – Let the Mold and Mildew Cleaner Soak In 

The mold or mildew cleaner needs time to permeate the affected surface. If you don’t allow the chemicals to sit long enough, you may have to start back at Step #3 and repeat. 


Step #5 – Scrub the Mold and Mildew Affected Area

The mold and mildew affected area must be scrubbed vigorously but not in a way that disturbs the mold and mildew spores which are easily transferable to another nearby surface. 


Step #6 – Rinse Mold and Mildew Affected Area with Water

You must rinse the cleaner off with clean water or you will be stuck with the smell of the mold and mildew cleaner. 


Step #7 – Dry the Mold and Mildew Affected Area

Just as you have removed the excess water, you also need to dry out the area. Just letting the area “air out” is not an option. You should use high-powered fans and suction to dry the area where mold and mildew originally was found.

Is Mold and Mildew Removal Safe To Do Yourself? 

If the mold or mildew in your home is surface level, resulting from a very recent event, and is limited to a small area, you can likely remove the mold yourself. One example would be the mildew that develops on bathroom walls.  

Using a mildew cleaner and proper ventilation, you can banish it from your bathroom. 

However, mold and mildew colonies grow and quickly spread. By the time you smell a musty odor, mold and mildew may have penetrated your walls and floors. 

If the mold and mildew in your home resulted from a water incident like a flood or water pipe break, it will be difficult for you to access and remove.


When To Call A Professional

Call a professional mold remediation company when any of the following take place: 

When you can’t be sure that you’ve located all of the mold or mildew,

Mold or mildew is the result of a water damage issue like a leak, burst pipe, or flooding.

Or you or a member of your household are particularly affected by mold or mildew.


Why Choose HRS Restoration Services? 

The HRS Restoration Services team is certified, trained, and has years of experience in mold remediation and restoration. We provide top-notch customer service and can get your home or business back to a pristine and safe state. 

For nearly forty years, HRS Restoration Services has been quick to respond when an emergency strikes.

Contact HRS Restoration Services Today! 

Call HRS Restoration Services as soon as you smell mold and mildew. We are available 24/7 to provide information or schedule an appointment. 

If your mold and mildew resulted from water damage, we can also provide water mitigation and remediation services in Denver

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Anytime of day, any day of the year, HRS is here to fix what may seem overwhelming and intimidating. Our professionals in Denver are here to help 24/7.

what is iicrc and Why is it important?

IICRC stands for the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification. Formed nearly 40 years ago, it is a non-profit organization that establishes globally recognized standards for the cleaning and restoration industry, as well as providing certifications, journeyman and master designation, and education.

By choosing a firm with IICRC certified team members, you are assured the cleaning professionals have undergone rigorous training and will handle your disaster restoration with the highest standard of care.


Helping Our Customers Immediately.

Figuring out what steps to take when disaster strikes can be a daunting task. HRS is here 24/7 to walk you through the process and bring your home or business back to habitable condition(s).

Taking care of emergencies so you don’t have to.

At HRS, we understand the panic that can set in when your basement floods or a fire breaks out at your business. We are here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to repair damage and give you peace of mind.