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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

The Secret Behind Mold Odor, Explained (and What To Do About It)

2/21/2018 (Permalink)

Most people are aware that mold has an odor, as the smell is very distinctive. Ask anyone and they’re bound to tell you that mold smells musty and stagnant, like a pool of water that has been allowed to sit and accumulate fallen leaves, mosquito larvae and other filth. However, though most people may be able to describe that musty odor in detail, not many people can tell you why mold smells. A mold remediation team in Maryland Heights, MO however, can. Mold smells the way it does because of mycotoxin and the following other compounds:

• Geosmin, which smells earthy, like the scent after it rains
• 1-octen-3-ol, which has been described as smelling “moldy” or meaty
• Borneol, which smells like camphor
• 1-butanol, which has a smell like alcohol fermenting
• 2-hexanone, which smells like acetone
• 3-octanone, which has a nutty or fatty odor

Each of these compounds contribute to the overall musty odor of mold, but the quantities vary. Though these chemicals can be toxic in large quantities, the amounts produced and released by mold are too small to be of any harm.

What Is Mycotoxin?

This compound is by far the greatest contributor to the musty smell that accompanies mold. Mycotoxins are toxic chemicals released by funguses that, in large quantities, are capable of causing disease in both humans and animals. However, the mycotoxins of many molds are generally harmless. Where circumstances are right, the level of mycotoxins can become high, though it is not quite clear why this is, as they are not necessary for the production of fungi. One theory of why they are present where there’s mold is that they effectively deteriorate materials, thereby creating a better environment for fungi development.

Most mycotoxins produce pungent odors, with the most common descriptors including:

• Cat urine
• Grease
• Mustiness
• Earthiness
• Old cheese
• Wet dog
• Acridity

If you smell a strong, pungent odor that you believe to be mold, reach out to your Maryland Heights, MO mold remediation team right away. The sooner you resolve the problem, the better off you’ll be.
Visit http://www.SERVPROnorthweststlouiscounty.com for more information on mold.

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