Removing Mold Odor: When to DIY and When to Call a Pro

mold remediationEffective mold remediation also includes removal of the telltale mold odors. That pungent, musty scent: most people instinctively recognize it. However, many people identify mold odor in more generic terms as mildew odor. Mold odor is a unique, specific phenomenon. Scientifically termed as mold volatile organic compounds (mold VOCs, for short), mold odor results from gases released by active mold growth.

The presence of mold odors is usually a reliable indicator that active mold is present—and likely in a quantity that warrants professional inspection and remediation. However, the reverse isn’t necessarily the case. Just because you don’t smell mold doesn’t mean it isn’t present in the house. Some of the many varieties of indoor mold don’t release odor-causing VOCs.

The general criteria for DIY mold treatment relate to locating the mold and determining the extent of contamination.

  • Follow your nose. If the odors are most noticeable in one particular room or area of the home, carefully inspect that area for signs of active mold growth. If you can actually see suspected growing mold in a very limited area—and it is situated on a hard, non-porous surface—you may be able to eliminate it by wiping it away and then treating the surface with bleach or other disinfectant.
  • Estimate the size. The general rule of thumb is that mold contamination affecting more than 30 square feet of area in the home is beyond the scope of do-it-yourself treatment and requires professional mold remediation. Realize that the mold you can actually see may not represent the total extent of the contamination as mold growth penetrates into building materials and invades structural voids.

Because mold VOCs are gaseous, odors tend to permeate the premises and are absorbed by porous or soft materials such as carpeting, clothing, drapes and upholstered furniture. Household items that have absorbed VOC gases may continue to emit odors long after the mold growth has been removed. Professional treatment and/or extended exposure to sunlight and fresh air may be necessary to totally eliminate residual odors.

If your nose is letting you know that you may need professional mold remediation, contact Rytech, Inc.

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