House Smells Musty But No Mold – Causes and Remedies

We are very familiar with that strong odor that builds up unknowingly and very rapidly inside our home, indicating we might have unwanted growth of mold indoors. 

Mold is as a result of fungi development in the presence of water or moisture, they are usually thicker and may cause structural damage as they penetrate very deep into materials they grow on. Materials they grow on include plant materials, building materials, and most home contents. They are very common in buildings and homes.

Mold’s effect on people’s heat can be severe in some cases as exposure to mold can lead to a stuffy nose, irritation, continuous itchy eyes, or skin. Some persons might have more or intense reactions to mold presence as it varies with the individual. Or you can go to the vacuum cleaner labs website and read their reviews.

Mold infestation can usually be detected by their smell or via their physical appearance. This smell is usually the musty smell. 

Musty Smell and Mold

Thought like stale, moldy, stuffy, or perhaps damp are words that do come to your mind when you remove your “Fresh Clothes” from a dryer, or while walking along with a basement. This smell might actually be a musty odor. These odors are completely unpleasant and might cause a lot of irritation to human psychology. This smell can be frustrating especially during home cleaning which might indicate there is a presence of mold or mildew lurking, which might add to its unpleasantries. You can also read our article about the best vacuum for fleas.

Musty smell sometimes might not be attributed to mold, as lack of ventilation, high levels of humidity can increase the chance of a musty smell being detected.

Causes Of A Musty Smell

A musty smell can be caused by many different cases but its effect is very alarming as it mainly makes the home feel less welcoming and even a bit unpleasant especially when there are many stuffy loads in an apartment. More ventilation will help remove the musty smell very rapidly and make the home non-habitable to mold and mildew which are the main cause of this smell.

Spillage problems can also make the home very unattractive and increase the growth of mold and mildew. 

Moisture is a very great key to the causes of mold as keeping it to the barest minimum has proven to be very effective and reduces the development of mold, not to talk of their full development. This makes their breeding ground not conducive and harmful for mold fungus.

Many environmental elements also form with condensation. Moisture from high humidity or leaking water increases the chance of fungi development. Mainly, mold needs to grow in the presence of a mold spore, a material surface to grow in, darkness, oxygen and sufficient moisture to pull them up.

As mold forms, gasses known as microbial volatile organic compounds are emitted from it, so the musty odor is also attributed to the result of the chemical compound released at the different stages of mold development.

Volatile organic compounds are either man-made or industrial chemicals and have a very pungent odor which makes them very noticeable, smell them easily and the odor are very annoying and strong.

Exposure to these organic compounds might cause headaches, fatigue or tiredness, nasal tract irritation, and many more.

A musty smell can have several different causes, but it can make your home feel less welcoming and even a bit unpleasant. The more you can get the air moving in your home, the better. Ventilation will help remove the musty smell from your house and make your home less attractive to mold and mildew. You can also read your central vacuum powerhead article I think it will help you a lot to keep your home clean.

Moisture in the air is one of the key causes of mold, and so it’s key to keep it to a minimum. Clean spillages immediately and thoroughly, and make sure your home is well ventilated by using an extractor fan when showering, taking a hot bath, or cooking. Also, try not to dry your clothes on radiators. For problems that pose a threat to your homes, such as burst pipes and cracked ceilings, be sure to seek professional help.

Essentially, all mold needs to grow is the presence of mold spores, a surface to grow on, warmth, darkness, oxygen, and moisture. The last ingredient — moisture — is the biggest problem. When all of the other environmental elements combine with condensation, moisture from humidity, or leaking water, mold begins to grow. Incorporating fresh air into your home will help alleviate the musty odors but it won’t eliminate the issue, you must find the source and stop the mold growth.


Action against musty smell is very important in addition to the above information given above.

Musty smell location- due to the low odor threshold of microbial volatile organic compounds emitted from mold and sometimes mildew. Checking for its source is very important as areas to check in your home include- bathrooms, kitchen, bedroom, living room, garage, and sometimes your library.

Moisture or water leakage problems- Precaution and fixing of these problems can save a lot of stress. As leaks can be found around roofs, windows, pipes, or areas with initial flooding. When the area with default has been found, it should be rectified and or an engineer should be contacted to do the work. It is advisable to have everything dried thoroughly within 48 hours to avoid the mold from growing in new areas that are still damp. 

Clean the moldy area thoroughly- bleaching sometimes might not be necessarily important as while bleaching, adequate ventilation to the outside and having protective equipment like rubber gloves and or face mask is very important.  Cleaning mold can be very intensive than mildew cleaning therefore high-quality tests should be used to look for signs of hidden mold. Also, you can read our vacuum cleaner advice content.

In some cases whereby the moisture sources are not conspicuous, these areas are your best bet.

  • Basement building, Roof/ walls ( Water leak)
  • Windows, walls (Condensation)
  • Wastebaskets or trash cans

In conclusion, air tests can be performed to look for signs of mold behind walls or under carpets or belongings. With all these in place, the war against musty smell will be surely eradicated permanently.

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