Get Rid of Mold Smell with Activated Charcoal

Mold and the odor that lingers / the use of activated charcoal

We have discussed mold and the various methods of cleaning and removal on this website, however, in many instances; the smell of mold will linger in the air, even after cleaning and removing.

Mold growth
Mold consists of living and multiplying spores, that will continue to grow until they are removed and the warmth, dampness and in most cases, darkness are eliminated from the environment. When the atmosphere is consistently wet, damp, warm, and shaded or dark, the possibility of mold growth is possible and probable. The more moisture in the air, as well as the lack of sunlight, will cause mold to occur, and unless cleaned, dried, and opened to sunlight, mold will re-occur and cause negative issues.

Moldy smells
One of the most aggravating characteristics with mold growth is the “moldy smell “, that is attributable to mold growth. Summer cottages, closets, as well as damp basements are all favorite places for mold growth and the resultant smell. We have all smelled this odor, and in many instances, the simple procedure of mold removal, will not eliminate the moldy odor permeating the environment.

What is odor?

It is the presence of microscopic particles, suspended within the environment, attached to dust particles or floating in the air, that we breathe in and therefore smell. The removal of these particles from the air is the only way to eliminate the odor.

Masking the smell vs eliminating the mold
Be careful not to confuse the masking over of the smell with deodorants, candles or other aerosol type deodorizers, which merely overwhelms the actual smell that you are trying to eliminate. This type of solution does not eliminate the micro toxins that cause the smell within the atmosphere; they merely overwhelm, or mask over it for the time being.

Using activated charcoal

What is the best method for eliminating the removal of these particles causing the smell in the environment?

The use of activated charcoal is recommended. Activated charcoal is a fine black powder created with bamboo, bone char, coconut shells, peat, petroleum coke, goal, olive pits or sawdust.

Whether this activated charcoal is an actual filter that is fitted within mechanical air handlers or forced air fans, or consists of simple bags of activated charcoal, it will start to absorb the small particles in the air that are causing the smell.

Why does activated charcoal remove small particles within the environment?

Activated charcoal is created by exposing charcoal to very high temperatures. These high temperatures change the internal structure of the charcoal by reducing the size of the pores and increasing the surface area. This reduction of pore size, together with the increase in surface area, results in a very efficient filtering medium that will remove, even the smallest particles from the air. This is the reason that the use of activated charcoal will remove the particles that cause the smell of mold within the air.

In addition to the size of the pores as well as the increased surface area, the activated charcoal carries a negative charge, which naturally attracts positively charged toxins and particles within the air, thereby trapping these particles within the actual matrix of the activated charcoal. Therefore, activated charcoal is both mechanically capable of trapping the small particles, as well as electrically charged to attract these small particles.

Activated charcoal filters are also used to remove the sulfur and other smells from a water supply, due to their ability to trap the very small particles within the water that are causing the smell.

The easiest method for the homeowner to use activated charcoal is to purchase individually sealed bags of the material, and position them within closets, under sinks and in all areas that have been promoting smells, or have been creating a moldy environment. These bags of activated charcoal will eventually filter out the smelly particles from the air, and the environment will smell both clean and fresh.

Another extremely beneficial characteristic of the use of activated charcoal is that it can be cleansed by placing the bags or the filters in the sunlight, or just simply outside. The UV rays generated from the sun will cleanse the activated charcoal and re-energize the filtering characteristics.

Professionals have been using activated charcoal as a medium to trap small particles in industrial, chemical and medical applications for many years. The homeowner should research the use of this material, and utilize its characteristics to clean the air and re-fresh your interior environment.

3 thoughts on “Get Rid of Mold Smell with Activated Charcoal

  1. Simply, Thank You. Your explanation has been the most comprehensive and yet straight to the point. Much Appreciated!

  2. How do I stop the mold smell and mold growing on my clothing. Can a light be installed in the cupboard to remain on is it purely light can I use a battery operated light, will it work and can I use charcoal brickets should I put them in a bag . The mold is effecting my health .

    1. Mold grows in a dark, moist area that does not have adequate ventilation and is susceptible to condensation. Humid air will cause more mold growth than dry air and the warmer, more humid the temperatures outside, without air conditioning, the more mold growth inside. Dehumidifiers will remove moisture from the air as will air conditioning. Keeping the home cool reduces the ability of the air to hold moisture, therefore reducing mold growth.

      Bags of charcoal type material sold at all home goods stores or hardware stores will reduce the mold and the moisture by absorbing it from the air. However there are limitations to the ability of charcoal absorbing materials.
      The best answer is to keep your clothes out of the dark warm closets in the summertime, try to air condition or at least dehumidify the air surrounding the storage of any clothes or personal items. Aside from mechanically air conditioning or dehumidification, keeping the home as sunlit as possible will also help reduce the moisture build up and therefore the mold. Unfortunately warm, humid summer weather will cause mold growth and charcoal is a limited solution. A light bulb will do nothing to reduce mold, although illuminating the closet, the mold will still occur especially in the summer months.

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