Is this mold?? Very worried, please help.

Just moved into a new rental, and two strange things are happening that I think may now be connected.

Firstly, there is a sweet kind of smell in the bathroom. I’ve never smelled mold so I don’t know if it is, but from what I’ve read it is supposed to be earthy and damp smelling, which I don’t think this is. It’s not a nice sweet smell though, it’s definitely unpleasant. It is also stronger when the bathroom door has been closed for a while.

Secondly, one of my makeup products has had some funny changes to its lid. Please look at this photo I took:
This is the second tub this has happened to. 2 days after I bought the first one, I noticed those same funny dots on the lid (it was completely covered, much more severe than that photo). I thought it was a faulty product so I returned it and swapped for a new one. This new one now has the same spots and is the one I’ve taken a photo of. It looks like this 3 days after being in the bathroom. I now know it wasn’t faulty the first time, and something in the bathroom is causing this!

Does anyone know if it is all related? Is it mold or anything dangerous? Any help would be appreciated! I’m quite nervous about the whole thing.

Thanks in advance!

That does not look like mold on your makeup lid to me. It looks like water spots that reacted with the lid’s material. Maybe your new place has very hard water. That is generally harmless except that it requires extra cleaning because it leaves a slight crust on things after it dries.

Mold doesn’t smell sweet either. I am not sure what is causing that smell but my guess would be some other item like a cleaning or cosmetic product that is partially open or in a cracked container.

In any case, my vote is not mold at least based on that evidence. I am sure you have seen mold before at least in science class or on old bread. It is a living, slightly fuzzy thing that is easy to spot and that isn’t it.

Mold is not dangerous, just ugly, and can be cleaned up with a bleach solution. If you have a bathroom fan, make sure you use it whenever you are in there, especially when bathing.

Mold can be a problem.

It being a new rental, I wonder if the sickly sweet smell was “room freshener” placed by whoever prepped the house for you. (I just bought a used car–it didn’t smell when I test-drove it, but when I picked it up it had been cleaned, detailed, and had little deodorant packets in the glove box, under the front seats, in the air filter, and wherever that last one is that I can’t find. :mad: “Nasty sweet” is a good description.)

I concur that the makeup lid looks like hard water drops. Are you new to the area, or is this dwelling on a different water supply than you are used to? Is the lid getting splashed when you are showering, etc.? It doesn’t look like mold, and mold doesn’t smell sweet. (Mold and mildew also tend to grow most readily on soft surfaces: fabric, wallpaper, grout, drywall, wood, etc. Hard plastic would not be the first point of attack.)

An unpleasant sweet smell could be rot or water damage of some kind even if it isn’t actually mold. The typical places this occurs is inside the vanity cabinet from a leaky tap, wall and floor around tub/shower from over spray, and the floor around the toilet. Look for discolouration, bubbling or peeling in these areas. Often wall, floor or cabinet will be soft from water damage.

The hard water theory was interesting because it is a completely new area with different water to what I’m used to, but unfortunately that’s not the answer.
It won’t wipe off with a dry or wet rag, and the spots have multiplied in number over the course of the day while I was out, with no water or anything spilled on or touching it.

Do you have allergies and are you sensitive to smells? If so, you might be smelling perfume or a fragrance from a product the previous dwellers were using. It might on the walls and any sort of vanity in the bathroom.

What I think you should do about it, if have the thing cleaned with something strong like bleach and keep the place well ventilated. If there is an exhaust fan in there, keep it running a lot. If there is a window, keep the window open and maybe put a fan in the window to blow the smell outside too.

Some people go nuts with deodorizers and the smell can sink into everything.

But based on what you described and the photo, I don’t think there is a mold problem. Mold doesn’t smell sweet.

Also, look for a source of the smell outside the bathroom. Consider anything that is above and below it, or in adjacent rooms. Maybe the other side of that wall has the smell, or below it. You are renting, so you could ask those who live around you if there is a sweet smell and if it would be OK if you could visit the other side of those walls to check out for yourself. Of course, you want to do this in a nice way so you aren’t blaming them for having a bad sense of taste in odors. :slight_smile:

If the smell is coming from outside the rental and not a place you have free access to, you can consider asking the landlord to take care of the problem. They might be able to caulk something to seal off the smell.

Something else to consider: has your sense of smell changed? Mine did in my first months of pregnancy. And the spots on your cosmetics look like water spots, maybe from water drops that fell from the ceiling? . Try removing them with vinegar or lemon juice, something acidic.

Ask visitors if they smell it and can pinpoint the smell. Also, did you start using anorher brand of laundry detergent or fabric softener? And is the dryer in or near your bathroom?

I actually had this same question about a sickly sweet smelling bathroom a few years back when I moved into a new house.

Someone suggested it might be the type of cleaner the professional cleaners had used prior to my arrival. I thought ‘can’t be’, but sure enough, after a really good scrub with my own brand of bathroom cleaner, the smell was gone.

I can’t say if that is what you have and can’t account for the spots on the make up, but it’s worth a first go.

Ha, found my original question!

Help me diagnose, and get rid of, my bathroom smell

I manage an apartment complex and provide maintenance. I deal with mold occasionally.

Mold tends to form around a source of water. It is alive and needs it. It tends not to float around without an obvious source. If you have a mold problem you should be able to see it concentrated under the sink or in the shower area - near a water source.

I agree that the smell is a cleaner. I usually use a strong scented cleaner to disguise old less pleasant smells when cleaning apartments. The two combined often leaves a sweet but not pleasant smell.

I don’t know what is on your makeup case but I very much doubt it’s mold. If it is hard water it wouldn’t just rub off with a damp cloth. Mold might however. Try wiping your compact down with vinager.

One more thing on this point, mold requires moisture to grow. It also doesn’t grow as fast as you’ve suggested. If your make up case is sitting out in the open with no water near it, it’s almost impossible that it’s mold growing on it. Besides, if your bathroom is so humid (think sauna) that mold is growing on the case, it would be growing on everything else as well. Any on your mirror?

So can bacon, if you eat enough of it.

The important part of your post is the situation and the time - a month! The op is claiming that the “mold” is growing out in the open in the course of a day. Nowhere near the same thing.

Don’t know the answer to your question, but when you post nude pictures, it’s board etiquette to observe the two-click rule! :wink: