Understanding the mildew smell in your home or office is the first step to addressing a potentially larger issue. Often, people find themselves asking, “What does mildew smell like?” to identify this common household problem. In this blog, our A+ Restoration and Cleaning team explores the characteristics of mildew odor and the actions you should take if you encounter it.

Identifying the Mildew Smell

Mildew is a type of mold that thrives in moist environments. It emits a distinct odor often described as “musty.” This mildew smell is more than just unpleasant. It’s also a telltale sign of excessive moisture and potential mildew and mold growth in your property. The scent is often likened to wet socks, damp cloth, or stale air — it’s an earthy, old, and damp odor that permeates through rooms.

Why Does Mildew Have a Distinct Smell?

The mildew smell is the result of the mold releasing microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs) as it grows. These compounds are gasses easily spread through the air, making the mildew smell noticeable even when the mold isn’t visible. It’s a natural part of the mold life cycle, and the intensity of the smell varies based on the extent of the growth and the type of mold.

The presence of MVOCs is a warning sign of potential health risks. Prolonged exposure to these compounds can lead to various health concerns, especially in individuals with allergies, asthma, or other respiratory conditions. 

The mildew odor indicates an environment where mold and mildew are actively growing, potentially impacting air quality. That is why recognizing and addressing the source of the mildew smell is crucial.

Where Can You Typically Find Mildew?

Mildew is found in areas prone to moisture, including the following: 

  • Bathrooms 
  • Kitchens 
  • Basements 
  • Around leaky pipes or windows 

Fabrics, wallpapers, and wooden surfaces in humid environments are also susceptible to mildew growth.

In addition to these common areas, mildew can also thrive in less obvious places, often overlooked during regular cleaning. This includes the backsides of furniture, inside cabinets, under sinks, and laundry rooms where damp clothing may be left sitting. 

HVAC systems and air ducts can also harbor mildew if there’s condensation or if they’re not cleaned regularly. Outdoor spaces like patios and decks are also susceptible, particularly if they’re shaded and retain moisture. 

Understanding that mildew can lurk in both visible and hidden areas is key to thorough prevention and effective treatment of this pervasive issue.

What Should You Do If You Detect a Mildew Smell?

If you notice a mildew smell, act quickly. Start by identifying the source of the moisture and addressing it. Look for any visible signs of mildew or mold, such as discoloration or damp spots. Cleaning the affected area can help. But sometimes, the issue might be more extensive than it appears.

Professional Help for Mildew and Mold Issues

For persistent mildew odors or visible mold growth, professional intervention is necessary. Mold and mildew can damage your property and pose health risks, particularly for those with allergies or respiratory issues.

Contact the Experts at A+ Restoration and Cleaning

Living in the Florida panhandle, including areas like Dothan, AL, means dealing with a climate that contributes to mildew problems. If you encounter a mildew smell in your Florida or South Alabama residence or commercial property, don’t ignore it. A+ Restoration and Cleaning is here to help. Our experts identify, treat, and prevent mildew and mold, ensuring your space is safe and comfortable.

Contact A+ Restoration and Cleaning for a thorough inspection and effective solution to your mildew concerns. We proudly serve the Florida panhandle and Dothan, AL.