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What Does Water Damage Smell Like?

If you are concerned about water damage, your nose can be a strong detection device. You can use your nose to sniff our dampness, mold, and mildew. Water damage is absolutely critical to get under control as soon as possible to prevent further damage and reduce or avoid mold and mildew growth. So, what does water damage smell like?

What Does Mold From Water Damage Smell Like?

Mold has a distinctive smell that is quite noticeable for a majority of people. Most people describe the smell of mold as musty and earthy, but that almost seems like a mild way to describe it. When you are talking about mold damage in a home or business, think old books meet decaying plants or even rotten veggies. While everyone may have their own way of describing the smell of mold, we can all agree the smell isn’t pleasant, which makes it extremely noticeable. 

Does Water Damage Smell Go Away?

If you hire a professional water damage restoration company to remove water, dry out the area, treat for mold and mildew, and perform repairs, the smell should go away once the damaged materials are removed and the area is repaired. If you continue to smell a musty odor a week or so after repair, it may be a good idea to have someone check for mold around your home.

Is Water Damage Smell Toxic?

In the initial phases of water damage, you may smell a musty odor even without the presence of mold. At this time the smell isn’t likely to be harmful to you and your family. However, as water damage progresses and mold begins to grow this can be harmful to breathe in. According to the EPA, “The health effects of inhaling mVOCs are largely unknown, although exposure to mVOCs has been linked to symptoms such as headaches, nasal irritation, dizziness, fatigue, and nausea.” mVOCs are microbial volatile organic compounds. Mold is a VOC. While further research needs to be done to completely understand the harmful effects of breathing in mold, we know for sure that it can cause allergic reactions and respiratory issues. 

How To Remove Smell From Water Damage

The best way to remove the smell from water damage is to mitigate the water leak and dampness, have the affected materials removed and repaired by a water restoration specialist, have any items that can be salvaged, cleaned, and sanitized, and, if necessary, treat for mold and mildew. 

What Does Water Damage Smell Like?

Water damage may have a musty odor on its own simply from the dampness, but for the most part, the stronger smells that you smell with water damage are mold and mildew which add in more pungent, earthy, almost rotten smells.


We’ve answered your question, “What does water damage smell like?” and expanded on the topic to give you some more details about using your nose to sniff out not only water damage but also mold and mildew. If you are concerned about water damage in your home and live in Charlotte or the surrounding area, call Mr. Clean Carpet Cleaning today! Not only are we carpet cleaning pros, but we also specialize in rapid response water removal, water mitigation, and water damage restoration. Call us at 704.790.9025 or learn more on our water damage restoration page. We offer free quotes.

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