What Does Mildew Smell Like? How To Identify & Eliminate It

What Does Mildew Smell Like? How To Identify & Eliminate It

Are you struggling to identify a weird smell in your house? You’re not alone if you’re experiencing smells that won’t go away no matter how much cleaning you do. 

Many homeowners often experience a lingering, musty smell and can’t identify and eliminate it. Chances are some parts of your house have become a breeding ground for mildew. Since mold odor varies depending on its type and growth stage, it’s hard for you to detect it. 

However, you should be able to identify mildew and take the necessary actions to remove it. In this blog post, we’ll explain what mildew smells like, how to identify it, and how to eliminate it using inexpensive and all-natural products (like the ones offered at Azuna.com). 

What Is Mildew

Let’s take a quick look at the definition of mildew and why it grows in certain places of a building. Mildew is a type of mold. In other words, we can say mildew is an early-stage mold. It is a form of microscopic fungus that travels through the air in the form of tiny mold spores. 

When these small spores land on a surface in a humid environment, they begin to colonize and flourish. However, mildew doesn’t penetrate surfaces the way mold does. Instead, mildew grows on top of surfaces like grout between tiles, windowsills, or shower walls. 

If you identify mildew in its early growth stages, mold remediation becomes a lot easier. Let us help give you some idea the kind of smells mildew produces. 

What Does Mildew Smell Like? 

A common sign of mildew is a musty odor that lingers in the air. It doesn’t take long for mildew to grow on a surface and release a bad smell into the air. In the right conditions, a surface can be affected by mildew in a few days. 

Here is what mildew smells like

1. Musty

We often overlook musty smells coming from a certain part of the house. If you experience a musty or moldy smell, find its root cause without any delay. The quicker you find the source, the easier it is to get rid of mold. It is important to respond immediately because mold and mildew are potential health hazards.

2. Stale and Damp

When it comes to mildew, you can’t fix the smell with air fresheners or by keeping your windows open. You might feel for a moment that the smell has gone, but it is still there. Instead of masking the scent with an air freshener (which is bad for your health), try to find the area that is producing the smell. 

Mildew usually produces a stale and damp smell because mildew spores linger in the air until they land on an area and start breeding. Bathrooms and basement areas are more likely to grow mildew. A stale, damp smell is a sign of mold growth. 

3. Pungent and Consistent 

What do you typically do when there is a pungent smell in your house? Chances are you open the windows and let the bad air out. As mentioned earlier, a mildew smell will not go away using quick fixes. When households ignore the smell and don’t do anything to fix it, the musty smell turns pungent and unpleasant. 

Don’t allow mildew to spread and become stronger. If you’ve started smelling a really bad and consistent smell, isolate the source of the smell and identify the affected spots in your house. 

4. Rotting or Fermenting

Have you ever experienced the smell of rotten wood? People who like to spend time hiking or camping in the woods are aware of the smell of rotten wood. Unfortunately, the mildew smell resembles the scent of rotting wood, so if you smell something similar in your house, it could be a sign of mildew growth. ay attention to unusual moldy odors to help locate the mildew in your house. 

Health-Related Signs of Mildew in Your House 

People who are allergic to mold and mildew are likely to show some health issues when exposed to mildew. When they breathe in mildew particles, their immune system overreacts and makes them sick. If you have a mold allergy, you may experience the following health problems along with the unpleasant stale and damp smell associated with mildew: 

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Cough and postnasal drip
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy eyes, nose, and throat
  • Dry, scaly skin
  • Watery eyes

Allergy symptoms to mildew vary from person to person. Whatever symptoms your body shows reduce your exposure to mildew if you suffer from allergies. While medication helps people keep their allergy reactions under control, the permanent solution is to get rid of the mildew once and for all. 

Identify Mildew Growth 

In most cases, it’s not difficult to locate mildew when it develops on visible surfaces like walls, drywall, and tile. Examine areas in your house where moisture is likely to build up. For example, basements are likely to develop mildew. Here are some other places where you can look for mildew: 

  • Around plumbing leaks, walls, roof, and basement 
  • Drain lines and air conditioning units 
  • Behind furniture and curtains
  • Indoor plants 
  • Items that were exposed to moisture or water in the past 

Make sure to check out dark areas, tight spaces, and corners. If you find mildew in your house, the next step should be to assess the severity and figure out whether or not you should seek professional help. 

In most cases, households can easily eliminate mildew using some basic kitchen or laundry items such as baking soda and white vinegar. If mildew has spread all over your house and you’re allergic to mildew, call a mold removal professional. 

How To Eliminate Mildew From Different Surfaces 

Once you have located the areas affected by mildew,eliminate it — the following are some common areas where mildew can be removed with ease. 

1. Tile and grout 

Mildew thrives in a damp environment, making the bathroom and basement two of mildew’s favorite areas to grow. To clean mildew from grout, you need to have some hot water, a stiff-bristled scrub brush, and a clean sponge. 

Dampen the sponge with warm water and wipe the affected area. The next step is to loosen mildew spores with a stiff-bristled scrub brush. Be sure to scrub in a circular motion to clean the area thoroughly. Now rinse the area with warm water and dry it with a clean cloth. 

2. Wood furnishing 

To disinfect your furniture, you have to prepare a cleaning solution using one gallon of warm water and half a cup of washing soda. Or, you can mix two tablespoons of bleach and two cups of warm water. 

First, loosen mildew spores with a vacuum and then wash the area with a soft piece of cloth dipped in warm water. Scrub the infected areas in circles. 

The next step is to dry the surface. To disinfect the area, you need to scrub it with your homemade cleaning solution. Vinegar is also an effective mildew killer. Finally, let the surface air dry. 

3. Upholstery 

Before applying a cleaner, it’s advisable to vacuum and remove as much mildew as possible. To prepare a cleaner, mix equal parts of water and rubbing alcohol. Once prepared, sponge the upholstery with the cleaner to eliminate the spores. If you’re not sure whether or not a cleaner is safe, spot test first. 

4. Walls 

If you want to use a commercially available cleaner to remove the toxic mold, cover the surrounding areas such as flooring to protect them against spills. However, it’s better to use a mixer of bleach and water to clean walls. 

Use a sprayer or sponge to apply the solution. Don’t forget to wear rubber gloves and protective clothing before cleaning.

Pro Tip: Use an all-natural mildew cleaning solution to achieve better results 

If you’re unable to get rid of mildew on a surface, tryMoldGold Antimicrobial Mold & Mildew Cleaning Kit. It is a plant-based, all-natural product for households looking to clean mold and mildew while also neutralizing odor. MoldGold cleaning kit helps you improve indoor air quality.

Final Words: Keep Your Home Well-Maintained 

The best defense is not to allow mold or mildew to grow in your home. Keep your plumbing systems in good shape. Most importantly, keep the air clean inside your house. Visitour shop to find products that will help you neutralize the air against mold, mildew, and bacteria! 



Mold allergy - Symptoms and causes | Mayo Clinic.

How to Remove Mold From Inside Walls | The Spruce

What does mold smell like? | US EPA

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