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What Does Black Mould Smell Like?

Rotten lemon on a white table.

When black mould appears in the home, it’s hard to miss. Between its distinguishable black-green appearance and pungent, unpleasant smell, black mould can be inconvenient, hard to remove and dangerous.  

Even if you can’t see black mould, its smell will give it away. Read on to find out more about what black mould smells like and what you can do to remove the odour.

What is Black Mould?  

Otherwise known as toxic black mould or Stachybotrys Chartarumblack mould is a strain of fungus commonly found in dark, moist and warm areas around the household. It releases airborne mycotoxin spores that can circulate throughout the air around the home, making it easy to breathe in.  

Black mould is widely known for its toxic airborne spores and is associated with causing a host of health problems. It is also known to cause more distressing health concerns for children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.   

What Does Black Mould Smell Like?   

Mould has a very distinctive smell and is often described as musty or earthy. Some compare it to rotting plants, fruits or vegetables, or having a damp or sweaty odour. However, the range of comparative smells may vary depending on different odour sensitivities.  

The cause behind black moulds’ pungent odour is their microbial volatile organic compounds (MCOC) which occurs when the mould off-gasses compounds when they feed and reproduce. The smell is a sign that the mould spores are actively moving through the air.   

The most common areas this smell is found in is in the moistest areas of the household, usually found within water-damaged surfaces, especially cellulose-based material. This may include cotton, cardboard or timber. 

If you smell mould around the home, it’s important to take action against it immediately by contacting a professional mould removal service. When black mould is airborne it will release mycotoxin spores into the air that will cause:   

  • Coughing or Wheezing  
  • Respiratory discomfort  
  • Headaches  
  • Throat, eye, mouth and sinus irritations  
  • Asthma 

What are the Signs of Black Mould?  

The best way to get ahead of mould prevention is to know what to look for. Exposure to black mould can lead to serious health concerns and even black mould poisoning so it’s important to know how to identify it. With that being said, you may have a black mould problem if you notice the following:  

Black Mould Odour  

Even if you can’t see it, you can smell it. Mould has been attributed to having a musty, earthy odour or closely resembling rotting plants and may already be spreading around in hard to notice areas or behind walls.  

If this is the case, check for areas that may have been exposed to water – mould needs moisture and humidity to grow. Even if an area looks unaffected or even dry, you may still have water damage or a leaking pipe that causes the mould to grow and smell.  

Mould colonies can severely disrupt the quality of air around the home so if you notice a musty, unpleasant odour, ensure that you take action to remove it as quickly as possible.  

Areas of Water Damage   

It only takes up to 48 hours for mould colonies to form and spread around the household so it’s important to look for any signs of water damage, spills or leaks. This may be a burst pipe or a roof leak but if it’s not cleaned and dried promptly, it can turn into a paradise for black mould spores.  

If you notice dark rings on the walls or ceiling then this may mean you have water damage surfacing. Mould could already be growing as a result so you must take action as soon as possible. Some mould removal teams offer structural drying and dehumidification services to ensure to prevent mould from damaging the structural integrity of the household.  

Black Mould Growth Spots  

Black mould growth sports may vary in colour, ranging from dark green, dark brown and black circles. Some variations of black mould may also tinge orange and have white flecks within it as well.  

Commonly, black mould may appear furry, however, with larger-scale infestations and patches, black mould may look more like a stain on the wall, floor or ceiling.  

How To Get Rid of Black Mould Odour  

Getting rid of the odour means eliminating the spores, which can be easier said than done. The most common household method for removing small patches of mould is through bleach.  

You can use store-bought bathroom bleach for minor spot removal in between tiles, on painted walls, on kitchen splashbacks and cupboards. Spray the bleach directly onto the mould affected area and allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes. Scrub clean with a harsh-bristled brush or scourer and rinse with warm water.  

When attempting to remove small patches of mould, please ensure that you are wearing a protective mask, eyewear and gloves to avoid inhaling the spores. It is also recommended to completely cover arms and legs to protect the skin and wear old clothes and footwear.  

If black mould has spread significantly throughout the walls and ceilings, it is best to contact a professional mould removal service team for a specialised treatment and prevention plan.  

When to Call a Mould Removal Professional 

If you are afraid of mould becoming a problem in your home and are looking for a long-term solution, be sure to call upon a professional team to help you. The MouldMen team will inspect, treat and provide you with a Mould Management and Prevent Plan to ensure that your home is kept safe and free from black mould. Call us on 1300 60 59 60 to book your free inspection today.

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