Mold Removal & More: Removing Musty Smells
What’s That Smell?
When it comes to mold removal, one of the telltale signs that it’s needed can be the smells that come from mold. This musty scent is a key sign of a problem and, most of the time, it’s a fungus known as mildew. I talked a bit about the smell of mold in an earlier blog and how it can be a signal that something needs to be done. Don’t fear though. Depending on how much there is, you may not need to call a mold remediation specialist to take care of it! Some small patches of it can be taken care of solo. Prevention is usually the best policy and can save a lot of headaches down the road. So once cleaned up, be sure to fix the source so it doesn’t happen again!
It’s important to be careful with chemicals used in some of the cleaning as they can sometimes be very potent. If the area is too big, you will be better off hiring a professional to take care of it.
Finding The Source
Sometimes it’s very easy to find where a gross smell is coming from, especially a strong scent. Following your nose can sometimes do the trick. But other times, you’re going to need to look for the signs of mold and mildew. It can hide in places you don’t think about. Or it can be in places that commonly have mold. In these locations, you might not realize that you have a problem until much later.
The most common places for mold and mildew to form are wherever there’s an excess of moisture. This is going to likely be bathrooms or unfinished basements. Bathrooms are especially susceptible because of the shower, sink, and toilet. Everyone’s seen grout tile and the discoloration that can come from it. That’s not age – it’s mildew and mold forming. Flooding and water damage can cause water to get trapped in the walls and ceiling. Another place it can show up is the dryer and washer area. Washers use tons of water and have places for water to get trapped easily. Dryers will make the whole area nice and warm to help mold growth. If you follow the maintenance instructions for cleaning the washer, though, you should be able to stop the musty smells. Keep the mildew out of the washer, and you’ll also keep it out of your clothes!
Once you’ve found the source, the most important thing to do first is to cut off the moisture to it. Completely removing all the water or moisture might not be a possibility, but do your best to remove all the water you can. If you can’t find the specific spots where it is forming, it’s a good idea to give the room a thorough cleaning. This will make sure that you get whatever was causing the smell.
Now comes the fun part for any kind of mold removal. Depending on what it is, you could have a very easy time in dealing with the smells and mold. But be ready for a fight. As mentioned in previous blogs, mold is very resistant. As a result, completely eliminating it can be very difficult.
One of the first steps will be to removing all the things that could hold the spores. Old papers, cardboard and so forth are ripe to hold mildew. Throw them away if you can. Is the mold in the carpets? You may need to get them professionally cleaned or replaced. It’s hard to do this yourself, but you won’t always have to remove the flooring. The next step will be to treating the actual area that’s affected by mildew and mold. In most cases you can use a lot of things you already have hanging around. The CDC recommends soap and water. Another good option is water and white vinegar mixed together.
If you do use bleach, be careful as it can cause unwanted damage to drywall. Bleach also doesn’t remove mold. It only bleaches the spores and removes the smell. If you use bleach, make sure to wash the area with vinegar or soap beforehand. Once you have your solution, you will have to do a lot of scrubbing. This is especially true for when it’s in grout or molding of fixtures.
After you’ve finished the cleaning, and the mess and stench is gone, the next move is to prevent it from coming back! Sometimes, like in a bathroom, there is a good chance that there will be more mold there eventually. However, you can keep it from taking hold as soon. This can range from controlling the humidity in the room to complete remodeling the area. Your needs will vary depending on what you’re looking for and how bad it was. Generally, a lot of clean up may need a lot of work for prevention. But that’s not always the case. Sometimes it’s as simple as cleaning up an area, or following the instructions. You may need to perform your preventative tasks regularly, but it’s a small price to pay to avoid a major cleanup.
When to Call for Help With the Mold Removal
If it’s a small amount, you can clean it yourself with these methods. There are times when a DIY approach to mold removal can only lead to a variety of more expensive problems. Knowing when you need to call in a professional because you can’t handle it yourself can be very important. But letting a problem go can turn into a much more expensive issue. If the job is big enough it is often well worth the expense to ensure it’s done right and all taken care of. A good rule of thumb for calling in a professional to handle the mold and musty smell removal is when the area affected is larger than a 2 foot by 2 foot square. If it’s more than that, it’s time to call someone for help. This is because it’s likely a far larger problem than anticipated. Mold can hide in the walls and under the floor, and you may only be seeing the tip of the iceberg. Save yourself time and money and call a professional!