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Mildew – What Is That Funny Smell?

The possibility that mildew has been causing that strange odor you smell in you home may not have crossed your mind, but the fact is that mildew typically emits a

Dry rot in the bathroom

Dry rot in the bathroom (Photo credit: marymactavish)

very distinctive odor.

For you, this may mean that you’re spending a great deal of time, effort and money tying to make your home smell good, only to find yourself facing the same battle day after tiring day. Take a minute to consider some facts about mildew and you may realize that you’ve been going about this problem the wrong way.

Most people know that mold and mildew can cause some serious health issues because of the recent media attention to the problem. What you may not realize is just how easy it is for mildew to get a start in your home, and that not all mildews are going to cause the family to become ill. In fact, one of the first signs that you have mildew may very well be right in front of your face – your nose, actually.

The degree of the odor will depend on several factors, including the amount of mildew infestation and the kind of mildew. Most common mildews that you’ll find around your home are relatively harmless, but the fact that there could be health issues coupled with the tendency for odors makes it a good idea to take control of mildew in your home.

So how do you tackle the problem of mildew odor? Candles, air fresheners and anything else along these lines will simply hide the odor for a short period of time. As soon as you aren’t spraying or burning, the smell will permeate the air once again. Instead of trying to hide the odor, you should be searching for the source and eliminating all the mildew you can find.

Don’t know where to start looking? If there’s moisture and no light, you’ve got a good breeding place for mildew. That doesn’t mean that it has to be pitch black. Mildew can grow in some relatively light areas as long as it’s dim at least some times.

Start in the bathrooms and kitchens. Remember that it’s possible for mildew to hide. If you’ve been thoroughly infested, you may even need to remove floor coverings and baseboards in order to get at all the mildew. Leaks are mildew’s friend. Be sure to repair leaks as quickly as possible and don’t allow water to stand on floors or cabinets.

One place where mildew sometimes thrives is the laundry hamper. If you aren’t washing clothes on a near-daily basis, it’s a good idea to put washcloths and other wet items somewhere to dry. A wadded up washcloth in the middle of a hamper is a great place for mildew. Not only will your hamper soon smell funny, mildew stains are very difficult to remove.

Whether you’re an excellent housekeeper or merely do enough to get by, mildew is a possibility. The next time you’re encountering a not-so-fresh odor around your house, consider that the culprit could be mildew.