What Does Mold Smell Like?

What Does Mold Smell Like?

What Does Mold Smell Like?

When most people think of mold, they think of the classic musty mildew stench similar to the smell of when wet clothes are left in the laundry too long. Most mold begins growing out of sight in walls or attics, and by the time you see the mold growing, the problem is usually much more significant than you think. Luckily, relying on your vision rather than olfactory senses are a quicker way to detect a fungal contamination in your home. In most cases, your most useful weapon for early mold detection is your sense of smell. However, it is essential to note that not all molds can be identified with the classic “old wet laundry” smell.

The Varying Smells Of Mold

There are thousands of mold species known at this time, varying in textures colors and odors. While the classic pungent mildew smell is among the odor catalog, some molds also release sweet smells, earthy smells, while others can release odors resembling rotting meat. Mold does not always like to be easy to catch; the scents of molds vary not only by species but also vary depending on the cycle of growth and digestion or reproduction at the time. Without knowing the multitude of smells and scenarios of mold odors, most homeowners do not detect mold growth until it has become a visible problem and a much more massive clean-up.

While you may be frustrated at the thought of memorizing thousands of smells and analyzing your home, keep in mind the general rule of thumb for mold odors- The smells are generally classified with the same characteristics: Pungent, musty and moist. Should a smell resemble these characteristics, it’s safe to say an investigation into a potential mold problem is valid. Similar to cheese, which also is a type of fungus with diverse species, Blue Cheese and Cheddar Cheese are not identical types of cheese and smell different.  Should someone cut a block of cheese, regardless of the type, we know by the smell characteristics cheese is present.

No Smell, No Sight, No Problem- False.

Many homeowners believe that if they cannot see or smell mold, there is no problem. This method of thinking is false and can cause harm to the resident’s health and as well the home’s structure. When mold is out of sight or smell, it can still be growing, and typically the alerting cause is the health of those within the affected structure. Coughing, sneezing, itchy red eyes, and more can be signs of mold allergens present within the home. If there are no apparent causes for these symptoms, or more severe symptoms occur, consult a physician and call MIOFL for a mold inspection.

Allowing mold to grow when symptoms are present is a dangerous gamble. Within the thousands of species of mold are classifications known as pathogenic and toxigenic. Pathogenic molds are those that may cause simple allergic reactions to those that are allergic to mold allergens or cause no response in those that are tolerable to mold allergens. However, a pathogenic mold can also become a detrimental health problem to infants, the elderly, or those who are immune-compromised. Toxigenic molds are just as the name appears- toxic. These molds released mycotoxins in their spores, a type of toxic chemical that attacks the body. These toxins can cause symptoms similar to those in the allergenic or pathogenic category, or become as dangerous as affecting the neurological system, resulting in seizures, cognitive function distress, and more.

Always take an odd household odor with caution. Investigate and follow the smell if you feel safe, and should you still be concerned, call in a professional for help. At Mold Inspectors Of Florida, our trained staff have the experience and tools needed to investigate deep into your homes’ structure and in your circulating air molecules. Call us today for an appointment and gain peace of mind.

Yeast vs. Mold

Yeast vs. Mold

Yeast vs. Mold

Have you smelled or seen something odd in your home? Are you chasing down smells and unsightly trails of colorful fungal growths? When it comes to fungus in the home, there can be confusion between yeasts and molds. While both are types of fungus, they play different parts in the fungal ecosystems.



Yeasts, like mold, are a member of the fungus family that can be found in nature as well as in a home. Unlike mold, however, yeasts are also cultured for industrial use, such as those used in the kitchen to ferment.

Yeasts are a unicellular structure, meaning they have only a single cell, and these single yeast cells are considered to be an organism. Yeasts, however, can vary and obtain multicellular structures in some cases.  Yeasts multiply new identical bodies from the single-cell it originally derives from to reproduce and grow across an area. Similar to the way twins are created in the womb, this, now multicellular yeast organism, is made of entirely identical cell structures.

Yeast is typically colorless and smooth to the touch; however, in some cases, yeasts may appear white or thread-like. In the beginning stages, yeasts can be hard to distinguish from the matter it grows upon due to the lack of color.

For growth and nourishment, yeast requires an organic host. In its natural environment, yeasts will grow prominently on plants and in soil. Yeast is attracted to sucrose-rich products and can also be found often on fruits and vegetables during the natural fermentation process. Yeast can also grow on and in humans and animals. The most common yeast found on and within the body is called Candida. At normal levels, this yeast is not problematic; however, should an overgrowth occur, unpleasant symptoms may arise. An abundance of yeast in the body can cause female reproductive infections, itchy dry skin, including triggering symptoms resembling athletes’ foot, and gastrointestinal issues resulting in unpleasant bowel movements. In most cases, an antifungal medication or cream can cure the yeast infection. However, a physician’s official diagnosis and treatment is required.

While the growth of yeast may be considered unpleasant, there are also benefits of yeast in nature and your home. Nutritional yeasts are used in brewing and baking, providing us with bread and beer. Naturally occurring yeast within the body, at normal levels, assist in the balance of bacteria along the digestive system.



As aforementioned, molds and yeasts alike are a member of the fungal family and feed on organic materials to survive. Unlike yeasts, molds are a complex multicellular organism. When molds begin to colonize the cells reproduced are the same structure, like yeast. However, while yeasts individual single cells are considered organisms, each mold colony is deemed to be separate organisms.

Molds are usually more natural to identify than yeasts. However, in the initial stages of mold growth, when single mold spores are present, the naked eye cannot visualize the mold as the spores are microscopic. Once the colony is formed, you may visually notice the mold. There are thousands of species of molds which all have different characteristics. Some species may appear slimy while others appear fuzzy or hairy. The same is true for the color of mold, orange, yellow, green, brown, white, and black are all possibilities. See our previous blog for a more in-depth look at the different mold colors and species.

Molds can also occur naturally like yeasts. However, molds require the right conditions to do so. With organic matter present for nourishment, in warm moist environments, molds thrive.  In the house, should a plumbing incident occur or a leak in the garage, mold would begin to grow at a rapid rate due to the humid Florida climate and water combination.

While molds can be dangerous, even toxic, to those around it, some molds have benefits for our daily lives and nature around us. When vegetation dies in the wild, mold grows and feeds on the substance to break down this matter and assist in its reabsorption in the earth. Mold is also a vital role when making cheeses, such a blue cheese. And finally, without mold, we would not have some of the most powerful medicinal breakthroughs around the world, including the famous penicillin.


While yeasts and molds hold similar properties and both carry pros and cons with its presence, invasion of either of these two fungi are unwanted on the home front. For a professional look into what is growing inside your home, set an appointment today!

What Type Of Mold Is Affecting You?

What Type Of Mold Is Affecting You?

What Type Of Mold Is Affecting You?


More often than not, the question is not if, but what type of mold is affecting you. The humid Southwest Florida temps are perfect for mold to grow. Households and commercial structures are easily affected in our area. The most common question is, “how dangerous is the mold in my building?”. Most people hear the word mold and assume the worst: The infamous “toxic black mold.” However, there are thousands of species of molds, including some black molds that are non-toxic. Toxic molds are those that produce deadly mycotoxins intended to kill other organisms in defense to ensure its survival. There are generally three types of mold groups: Allergenic, Pathogenic, and Toxic.

Allergenic Molds

Allergenic molds are one of the most common mold types discovered in areas where allergy and asthma sufferers begin experiencing symptoms that cause them to investigate for the source. Allergenic molds release mold spore allergens that spark allergy and asthma responses in those affected. Around 20%-30% of the population is susceptible to mold and other common allergens, leaving behind hay fever-like symptoms. For the people that do not suffer from allergies or asthma, the small number of allergens produced by common allergenic molds does not affect their health. When a person is allergic to mold, the allergens released create an inflammatory response in the respiratory system, causing flare-ups of wheezing or coughing.

Common Allergenic Mold: Penicillium is a common allergenic mold that is easily identified by its musty odor. This fungus, found on spoiled food, fabrics, and building materials, can cause allergenic reactions in a typical household. Penicillium tends to be shades of blue, green, and white and has been known to grow on cooling coils in air conditioning units as well as interior fiberglass liners, leaving you with allergens spread through your ventilation system.

Pathogenic Molds

Pathogenic molds are known as opportunistic molds that cause certain diseases and infections in the body. While a person with a regular healthy immune system may be able to fight off the pathogens released by these molds, infants, the elderly, and those with suppressed immune systems become compromised. When this reaction occurs, the opportunity for the pathogen to take hold and cause serious illness rises, thus the name “opportunistic molds.”

Common Pathogenic Mold: Aspergillus is a fungus whose spores are commonly found in the air but do not typically cause illness to healthy individuals. However, those with compromised immune systems can experience asthma and respiratory disease flare-ups, as well as aspergillosis. Aspergillosis is an infection, most commonly in the lungs, caused by Aspergillus. This illness forms a ball of blood clots, white blood cells, and fungus fibers that block areas of the lungs or sinuses.

Toxigenic Molds

Toxic molds spread mycotoxins, a poisonous (toxic) chemical that is dangerous to humans and animals alike. Allergenic and pathogenic molds do not deliberately release harmful chemicals to hurt other organisms; the harm their category causes is simply a side effect of its species. Toxic molds intentionally cause damage as a defense mechanism to survive in most environments. Mycotoxins are known to be one of the deadliest chemicals on Earth, causing temporary illness or irritation, or long-term or permanent illnesses depending on the individual and level of exposure. The most common forms of exposure are inhalation, skin contact, and ingestion. Simply breathing the air in your home can cause severe illnesses if toxicity in the air is present.

Common Toxigenic Mold: Stachybotrys, the nefarious “black mold” everyone fears, is one of the most harmful toxic molds found in a home. The mycotoxins released by this species are known to cause fatal effects such as bleeding lungs. This type of black mold is usually tricky to detect and hides behind walls and under ceilings and can be resistant to regular air sampling.

If you believe you are being affected by mold in your home, reach out to Mold Inspectors Of Florida to schedule an inspection.

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The Rainbow Colors Of Mold

The Rainbow Colors Of Mold

The Many Colors Of Mold

When we hear the word mold, most of us picture green fuzz on spoiled food or black and green spots on the wall. Yet, there are thousands of species of molds, and each type of mold can vary in color. The different colors of mold have a tale to tell! While black and green may be the most seen molds, mold can also grow in a vast array of colors.
In this article, we’ll explore the many colors of mold, where they like to live and some potential hazards.

What causes mold to have different colors?

There have been theories of why different molds differ in color. Yet, science has provided us with some insight on why and some may even consider it fascinating. Mold colors may vary due to their age or stage and the conditions in which they are growing. Also, the colors of mold vary by region. For example, in The Amazon, orange mold is very common due to the pigments found in its food source.
Fungal biologists have found that the colors of mold act as a weapon or a defense mechanism. The color pigmentation creates a protective barrier for the mold. They even create a toxic chemical environment as an act of warfare against other fungi! Another function of color produces waste chemicals or digestive agents. The digestive agents break mold’s food source down.

Multi-Colored Mold

In the mold photo featured above, it’s easy to see there is more than only one color of mold represented. This is often the case when mold is present. Most mold reflects several colors that range from white to dark and even bright colors. Important to note, the same type of mold can, in fact, appear in several different colors. This presents a challenge in determining what type of mold you’ve found by sight alone. For this reason, a Certified Mold Inspection is always recommended.

White Mold – A color of mold often confused with mildew!

White mold is often confused with mildew. This develops due to their microscopic spores, making them complicated to detect. Once the colonies grow, the molds appear as spots across the surface of the affected area. Like most other molds, white molds thrive in wet and musty environments. White mold can grow on any organic materials such as plants, fabrics, wood, or drywall. This can prove to be a danger to your health and the structural safety of your house.
It appears as powdery, flaky, stringy, or film-like in appearance. In the early stages, it can resemble mildew. Mildew is harmless. Yet white mold can grow deep within the organic materials. When this happens, the mold compromises the material’s structural integrity. White mold can also turn from white to grey, green, or black!

Gray Mold – A color of mold more dangerous to plants than people.

Gray mold is a danger to plants. It is a necrotrophic fungus that kills its host and lives off of the dead tissue. Sounds like something off of a horror movie, right? At first, gray mold will cover only parts of the plant that is its host with grayish webbing. But, eventually, the entire plant becomes covered by this gray fuzzy growth.
Though this is deadly to plants, the risks to humans are minimal. Some have reported an allergic reaction to this species of mold. This reaction is also known as “Winegrowers Lung”. This hypersensitivity pneumonitis isn’t deadly but requires medical treatment.

Red Mold – This color signals danger.

Red mold is easy to spot and may signal danger. Some people mistake red mold as a pink mold and vice versa. There are many types of mold associated with this color, some hazardous. Only a certified mold test will be able to determine if a red mold is hazardous or not.
This color mold tends to grow alongside other molds. It’s often found on spoiled food and building materials such as wood and drywall.

Green Mold – A very common color of mold.

Green mold is among the most common species of mold and refers to hundreds of mold types. Green mold spores can, on occasion, turn blue, black, or pink. Most often, when found in a home, the spores you will discover are green in color. If you find green mold in a home, investigate areas that are moist, warm, and have organic material. Windowsills, attics, and bathrooms are especially prone to these types of mold.

Green-Black Mold – A toxic color combination.

Green-Black mold is a camouflaged version of toxic black mold, Stachybotrys. Black mold is not identifiable by sight. Like black mold, green-black mold requires a certified mold test to identify its type. This type of mold is one of the most dangerous molds that we find. It poses a hazard to your health and any living thing it reaches due to its deadly mycotoxins.
This mold is often gelatinous and slimy due to its top layer of protection. But, if this mold’s source of moisture ends it will turn to a dry and powdery texture. Whether the mold is slimy or powdery, the health risks remain the same and you should avoid it at all costs.

Olive Green Mold – A common mold that’s difficult to see!

Olive Green mold is very common in both indoor and outdoor spaces. Yet, this color mold is very difficult to see. This mold loves outdoor plants as hosts. Usually, this mold is powdery. It will form a combination of colors with gray and brown parts to it. It may be very light in color, making it hard to spot with the naked eye.
In rare cases, olive green mold can cause a brain infection called fungal meningitis. It’s linked to various eye, skin and sinus infections. This type of mold is hazardous to your health.
It loves outdoor plants as hosts. It’s often found growing in walls, cabinets and damp carpets. You may even find this mold growing on the leave of your indoor houseplants.

Orange Mold – A mold color often mistaken as rust!

Orange mold is more common than you may think. Some homeowners have orange mold present and do not realize what it is! Many mistake it for grime or rust-like build up. Orange mold differs from typical mold with its orange color and slim like appearance.
In typical mold-like fashion, orange mold grows in moist, warm places that offer a food source. But, orange mold is most likely to develop on wood rather than any other organic material. Beams, attics, rafters, and wooden window sills are among the top affected areas of orange mold. Kitchen floors and ceilings are also a high-risk area for this mold growth. Pipes and appliances expose wooden areas of kitchens to moisture making them prone to mold.

Yellow Mold – A mold color often confused with pollen.

Yellow mold often gets confused with pollen. Here is why. Both are yellow and may collect near windows or doors. Especially if flowers or other pollinating plants are nearby. It appears as dusty or fuzzy, and in some cases, may arise as a slimy gelatinous texture. This color mold often presents itself along with the white or green mold.
Slimy, yellow mold can be one of over 900 species of molds that are unlike fungi. They are single-celled organisms. Due to the single-cell structure, the slime molds are liquid or mushy in texture. Slime molds tend to feed off of plant matter in the decomposition phase found outdoors. Including in your mulch bed or leaf piles. The most common area for a yellow slime mold to be present is within the air conditioning unit.

Purple Mold – A mold color that is easy to spot!

Purple mold is uncommon in comparison to the other colors of mold. Yet, this color of mold is often found on wooden surfaces such as building material. It loves to hide behind walls, wallpaper and beneath vinyl.
This color is often dangerous as it’s usually associated with the toxic pink mold. Toxic pink mold, Fusarium, produces mycotoxins that are harmful to your health.

Blue Mold – We’re not talking cheese.

This powdery mold is usually a form of mold called aspergillus or penicillium. Some blue molds are in cheeses that we eat or used to make antibiotics. Blue mold outside of these specific types are not good for your health. The antibiotic penicillin comes from the mold called penicillium. But, breathing penicillium spores comes with risks to your health. This type of mold can cause allergic reactions, inflamed lungs, and sinus issues. This type of mold loves to grow on food but is also found in places where water damage has occurred.

Pink Mold – Don’t let this pretty color fool you.

Pink mold is usually fuzzy and produces dangerous mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are the toxic compounds that are naturally produced by certain molds. These molds are a health risk to those with weakened immune systems, the elderly and children. The risk of health issues increases as exposure time increases to these molds.
For example, running a humidifier for long periods of time can cause a pink mold to grow in the machine. If this happens, people may develop a hypersensitivity pneumonitis called “Humidifier Lung.” Humidifier Lung causes coughing, difficulty breathing and fever. Cases of “Humidifier Lung”. This type of mold is also often found growing on damp window frames, wallpaper, and carpets.

Brown Mold – A color of mold often mistaken as a simple discoloration!

Depending on the lighting and stage of development, brown mold may appear to be brown or almost black. Brown mold in early stages may seem like small areas of discoloration. People mistake mold as discoloration on walls, ceilings, bathroom tiles, or wood surfaces. At first glance, it may seem harmless to the unsuspecting homeowner.
Upon aging, the brown mold develops a thick fuzzy, or hairy appearance. If not caught in time, it can morph into mushroom-like blobs on the surface it has infested.
Brown mold can be confusing to the homeowner with a mixed appearance. This is due to the diverse strains of mold that are common for brown molds. Patches of brown molds often contain a combination of other molds. And some that produce mycotoxins that are hazardous to your health.

Black Mold – A color of mold most often associated with toxic health risks!

Black mold is the most feared of all mold colors. This is because black mold is toxic to your health in most cases. Yet, not every black mold is toxic and there are molds of other colors that happen to be toxic as well. Believe it or not, you cannot determine if mold is black by looking at it. Other colors of mold can also appear black. A specialized microscope used in a mold analysis is the only way to determine if the mold is black.
If you find what you believe to be black mold and it has a slimy appearance, chances are it’s toxic to your health. It grows easily in cellulose materials like cardboard, paper, wicker, and wood. It’s often found in humid parts of the home like the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, and basement. Additionally, black mold is very difficult to completely remove. Many people look for ways to take care of household tasks and challenges through DIY methods. We recommend seeking certified mold remediators to tackle this type of job.

Comprehensive Mold Inspection

As you can see, it’s not easy to determine if the mold you are dealing with is toxic or not. You may not even be able to tell if you have mold growing by sight alone. If you notice any of the molds listed above or suspect you may have mold, call us at Mold Inspectors Of Florida. Our comprehensive mold inspection reports are available within 72 hours of the assessment. If you need a quicker turn around time, 24-hour results are available for an additional fee.
We provide you with a detailed report that includes photographs of the affected area. Our reports are easy to understand and explain where and why mold is present.
It’s our pleasure to provide our clients in Fort Myers with a certified mold inspection. We serve all cities within Lee and Collier County Florida. Our inspection, your peace.

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