Various descriptions of mold smell. The earthy, damp, humid, loamy smell, when you pass by a decaying wood, is the closest description for mold odor. However, the outdoor condition makes it less stuffy. You could still breathe fresh air in the forest. Another example is the smell of dirt covered by decaying leaves.
Some of those compounds are toxic (called mycotoxins) and those toxins, as well as the actual mold spores, can cause a wide range of medical problems such as difficulty breathing, sinus infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, migraines, sore throats, depression, joint pain and inflammation, exhaustion,...
When asked how black mold smells like to them, some people compare it to rotting wood or paper. Some others report it as smelling like cedar or dirty wet socks. In any case, wet, musty, and stale are some of the adjectives that best describe its smell. It can be possibly detected by this peculiar odor.
A: Mold has a musty odor that is indistinguishable from any other smell. Some types of mold, such as those on rotten foods, have the typical foul odor of rotten eggs. Other mold, like black mold, smells very musty, similar to a basement that is not properly aired.
Mold can sometimes live within the walls or behind wallpaper, and so you might not immediately associate the smell with a mold problem. If you do notice an unusual persistent odor in your home, the culprit may be mold.
Mold Smell. Another sign of hidden mold is a moldy smell. If the smell is worse in certain rooms then the mold is probably growing near that area. If the mold smell gets worse when the air conditioning or heating is on then there could be a mold problem in the HVAC, or in your air conditioner or heater.
Mold produces gases called microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOC), some of which have a pungent, musty odor that can also be described as earthy. It 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.
Mold will grow in places with a lot of moisture, such as around leaks in roofs, windows, or pipes, or where there has been flooding. Mold grows well on paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, and wood products. Mold can also grow in dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery.
Moldy Smell. Some compounds produced by molds have strong smells and are volatile and quickly released into the air. These compounds are known as microbial volatile organic compounds (mVOCs). Because mVOCs often have strong or unpleasant odors, they can be the source of the "moldy odor" or musty smell frequently associated with mold growth.