What Does Mold Smell Like?
Some mold can also be identified by smell. In general, the smell of mold is unpleasant, and smells like something is moist in the room. Some people compare it to the smell of wet socks, or rotten wood or paper. When mold eats, grows and multiplies, it releases Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds (MVOC). There are many of these compounds, or chemicals, that are released as mold grows, but some of the most common have smells that are pungent and musty. Their scent is also described as earthy or meaty, likened to the smell following rain. Others have an acetone, or camphor-like odor, with some described as herbaceous, nutty or fatty. Another MVOC releases an alcohol fermentation smell.
As you can see, mold can emit many different types of odor, just like it can come in many different colors and textures. So, how do you know if what you smell is indeed mold, instead of just regular smells in your home/business? For one thing, if aromatic mold is present, the smell will not fade no matter what you do to ventilate the room. Mold can grow inside wallpaper, walls, basements, ventilation ducts, under carpets and floorboards, so it is possible to smell mold without actually seeing it. Mold’s odor is persistent. It can even be a smell that you get used to.