One thing that scares most people is mold formation on home walls and, god forbid, on some of your clothes. While the second one is quite rare, the first one is commonly seen. And the musty smell of mold can feel suffocating, especially when you return home after a long time.
So, how do you deal with it? Do air purifiers help with mold smell?
Fortunately, you can deal with the musty smell of molds quite well with an air purifier. Modern air purifiers with a multi-filtration system not only deal with the smell but can also prevent the spread of mold.
However, if you’re facing the irritating smell of mold, you’re in the right place. We’re going to talk about the positives and negatives of air purifiers when it comes to treating mold smell.
What Is Mold?
Molds are a type of structure that certain fungi can form. They mostly form on flat surfaces with high moisture and heat content. It feels and looks almost like sand or dust when you touch it. And as soon as you touch it, it crumbles and falls. Some of it also floats away in the air.
- What Does Mold Smell Like?
The smell spreading from mold feels musty and damp. If you ever left a wet towel on the bed and sniffed its smell the next day, you must have hated it. The smell of mold is somewhat similar but more intense and nastier. And this smell and mold itself spread fast.
- How Does the Mold Spread?
The smell of mold is carried by air. But how does the smell originate? It develops when the mold starts to grow by reproducing through spores. These are simply molded seeds. However, these seeds do not contain the smell.
- What Causes the Musty Smell of Mold?
During this stage of growth, the mold produces lots of gasses called mVOC or microbial volatile organic compounds.
mVOC consists of gasses that are odorless or with odor. The mycotoxins are the ones responsible for the musty smell. These are formed and released into the air throughout the bacteria’s digestion and reproduction.
Being a gas, it can easily get into the circulating air and spread throughout your home. In addition, the smell becomes intense if you keep the windows closed.
But the consequences of closed windows are a lot more than that, but that’s a topic of another discussion.
Do Air Purifiers Help with Black Mold Smell?
This is a common question we’ve had from many readers. Before we answer it, you should know that there is no specific color of mold. Most often, it’s black, but it’s also seen in a grey or greenish color. And it can also be of any color, like brown or purple. The color is influenced by the surrounding elements.
Now that we’ve put that out of the way, we can focus on the effectiveness of air purifiers against mold smell.
The filter inside an air purifier decides whether or not your air purifier can help with the smell. Unfortunately, most of the old air purifiers are out of the question since they only came with the HEPA filter. That filter is great for its purpose, but it’s not enough for mold.
Therefore, an air purifier with a carbon filter is necessary if you want to fight the smell. If you haven’t used it, it might be hard to understand. Here’s your answer.
- How Does a Carbon Filter Help with Mold Smell?
The carbon filter, aka activated charcoal filter, is made from pure carbon. It utilizes the absorption properties of charcoal, and the property is enhanced by making it into a powder.
Then a bed made from carbon powder is placed as a filter inside the purifier. The structure is porous, and that’s why it has an excellent track record of trapping gas molecules and odor particles. So it can easily absorb the mycotoxin gasses and the smell released from them.
- What Happens to a Carbon Filter after It Retains the Gas?
Anyone who has used an air purifier knows that a carbon filter goes out of service much sooner than a HEPA filter. It will slowly lose efficiency as the porous structure gets filled up. It’s simply because a carbon filter absorbs the particles, and you can’t completely get rid of them through washing.
It needs replacement every 5-6 months.
What Are the Most Common Spots for Mold Smell?
How do you prevent mold growth? Knowing the most vulnerable spots for mold attack is a good way to stay alert. You can place the device close to the source, and it can work with full efficiency.
The most appropriate condition for mold development is heat and moisture. Any place without windows or any access to open air is the most vulnerable spot. Here’s a list of probable spots inside your home.
- The Bathroom
The bathroom in your home is usually the first place to get infected by mold. Mold needs moisture and heat. And the bathroom has everything, especially if you use a heater.
Our bathrooms get the outside heat, and if there’s poor ventilation, the humidity level can rise higher than the ambient condition. So, it’s a good condition for molds to grow.
- Near the Pipes
The second most vulnerable place is the wall surface that has the water pipes inside. One leak is enough for mold to grow if you don’t take care of it. The dark, hot and humid conditions will allow mold to grow much quicker than anywhere else.
It’s also necessary to mention the roof. If there’s a leak on the top, your roof will see mold growth thanks to the rain. The worst part is that the mold will grow on the roof’s interior, which is troublesome.
And yes, your closets can also be a victim of mold growth if you don’t open the doors at least once a week. A long vacation and a set of worn and unwashed clothes are enough to turn your closet into a mold breeding ground. Mold grows on sweat more quickly.
So, don’t cram your clothes inside. Maintain good airflow and keep it light.
The basement gets the least amount of airflow and sunlight. And the presence of moisture from the ground, especially if the floor construction is faulty.
Moreover, water spills in the basement need to be dried manually as the evaporation rate is lower due to the lack of sunlight.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is mold smell harmful?
Depending on so far what we know, it’s not harmful. The health effect of it is largely unknown. No severe cases have been reported due to inhaling mold spores and its smell.
But research shows that it’s linked to symptoms such as headaches, nausea and fatigue.
2. Can HEPA filter help with mold?
Yes, a HEPA filter can help you with mold but not in the way you may think. A HEPA filter won’t directly attack the mold already growing on your walls. But it can slow down its spread by catching airborne spores so that they can’t spread to other surfaces.
As a part of a bigger system, it will also keep the air clean of the dust from mold and damaged paint particles.
3. Do dehumidifiers remove mold and its smell?
They do NOT KILL mold. But if we’re talking about fighting molds, the answer would be a “yes.”
The best way to prevent and kill mold infection is to make sure it doesn’t have a suitable environment to grow. A dry environment is the worst enemy of mold.
A dehumidifier decreases the humidity and literally suffocates the mold. Additionally, you need to maintain good airflow to keep the area cool.
However, dehumidifiers can’t remove the smell.
4. What else can I do to fight the mold smell?
You can also fight the mold smell with traditional techniques. These will be more effective if used alongside an air purifier. Here are the solutions:
- A vinegar solution – Vinegar is 20% acetic acid. It’s the safest solution to eliminate fungus. You can spray vinegar and water solution on the molds, and they will start to die and fall off.
- Baking soda – This is also a great alternative. You don’t even need a sprayer. You can simply sprinkle it on the infected surfaces.
- Bleach – A simple 1:1 bleach and water solution will kill the mold faster than any other method. But then you have to get rid of the bleach smell.
All these methods will work better if you remove the infected wall paint and take out the mold beforehand. You’ll have to redo the paint job anyway. And yes, make sure to have good ventilation in your home for airflow.
Read More: Do Air Purifiers Get Rid Of Dog Smell?
So, do air purifiers help with mold smell? You have your answer. It not only does get rid of the smell, but it can also help you out if you’re trying to stop the spread. However, don’t rely only on air purifiers. You must take other necessary steps to maintain a dry and cool indoor environment.
Last Updated on January 10, 2023