What to do when mildew smell doesn’t go away after water damage repair
“Q: Earlier this year, a downspout came loose, and water infiltrated my condo bedroom. It took the property manager 3½ months to repair it, so a lot of water came in. After the repair, I waited five months for the walls to dry out, during which there was a strong mold/mildew smell. When I brought in a plasterer, he removed the damaged plaster. A worker applied a white sealant, Zinsser Odorless Oil-Based Stain Blocker, and returned to spray mold/mildew killer. That was five weeks ago. After a few days, the smell was still as strong as before, so I bought the same product — it smells like Clorox — and sprayed the walls every third day. The mildew smell lessened only a small amount. I found a recommendation online to apply vinegar to kill the odor. I have done that three times over the past week. The smell has lessened a bit, but I worry that if I proceed to get new plaster and paint, the mold/mildew will come through. How should I eliminate the odor?
A: Hire a licensed mold assessor to test your walls and the air to make sure the underlying issue — excessive moisture — has been addressed. A persistent smell hints that mold or mildew (the term for specific kinds of mold) may still be growing because moisture levels are high.”
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Hopefully, no one else finds themselves in a situation where it takes 3+ months for a repair. If afterward, that mildew smell is still lingering, then it most likely is mold that is present. Your best bet is to have a professional come in right away to fully asses the situation.