What are mVOC’s and how do we deal with them?

You may never have heard of the term, but you may certainly have smelled their smell. mVOC stands for Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds and can best be described as that musty moldy smell many people associate with wet dogs and dank locker rooms. The way these smells are produced is via off-gassing from the growth of microbes; that musty smell might as well be described as the flatulence from mold.

When we compare the smell of mVOC’s with wet dog, let’s look a little closer at what causes that wet dog smell to try and determine the similarities. Like humans, dogs are covered in skin cells, fur (hair in our cases) and other organic material. Unless you are bathing that dog regularly, there is probably an accumulation of dead skin cells, all kinds of bacteria and all sorts of weird stuff just waiting for the next step: the addition of water and the creation of a small ecosystem. These microbes and bacteria now feed off the water and the organic material, leading to that wonderful smell we all are familiar with.

With a wet carpet, for instance, there are a lot of similarities. One thing people often forget is how much dust, dead skin cells and other bio material our carpets collect and accumulate. Even regular vacuuming can only do so much. So, when a water intrusion occurs at your property and comes into contact with that bio material hidden in your carpet, very similar processes happen, and bacteria and microbes feed, creating a little ecosystem and producing mVOCs.

In order to deal with the odors, specific steps can be taken during the remediation process to eliminate them. While mVOCs cannot be removed from the air through conventional means, such as HEPA filters, thoroughly cleaning items and disinfecting them with UV light is one of the few effective means of eliminating these smells entirely.

When dealing with odor problems in general, looking for the root cause instead of covering up the smell is always the recommended course of action. When it comes to mVOCs, their presence is an indication of a problem that needs to be dealt with instead of covering it up. When you want to get it dealt with right, IRS has your back.