Moldy smell - lingers for two weeks now in dry tile bathroom - where is it coming from?

Living in Silicon Valley, it's hard to get mold since it's so sunny and dry most of the time.
Had guests over (don't ask) who needed to do wash and we washed what turned out to be their moldy stuff with my towels.
When they left, we noticed the musty odor in the bathroom, so we narrowed it down to the towels washed with their stuff.
No problem. We just re-washed (and re-washed) the towels. Yet, in the bathroom itself, even after almost a week of airing out the tile bathroom with the windows wide open, the faint moldy smell still exists, ever so faintly - but it's definitely there.
Googling for how to locate the source, I find the keyword MVOC (microbial volatile organic compounds), e.g., http://www.emlab.com/s/sampling/env-report-04-2006.html http://blackmold.awardspace.com/mvocs.html http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18333991
End result? It's a complicated mess. But, yet, I still have that faint yucky musty smell of mold sticking to the membranes of my nose whenever I enter the tile bathroom.
The bathroom never had this smell before; and it won't get rid of it now. It is a 100 tile bathroom, very dry, on the third floor, with tons of sunlight and wide open with no wet anything anywhere.
What on earth is the mold sticking to? Any suggestions?
PS: I'm wont to snap a picture but I don't know how to snap a picture of a mouldy smell...
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On 04/25/2014 11:07 AM, Danny D. wrote:

I guess you have now learned your lesson.
You will probably have to get rid of the towels you washed with their moldy stuff, then let fresh air and bright sunlight do the rest.
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wash the walls and towel bars with bleach
Mark
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Danny-
Is your washing machine a front loader? Smells are a common problem with them, since their seals prevent moisture from getting out unless you leave the door open. There are washing machine deodorizers available.
One place that might trap mold spores, is the dryer's lint filter. It might also help to clean out the vent hose.
Fred
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Danny,
Sprinkle baking soda everywhere, let stand for a couple of days, then vacuum up.
Dave M.
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On Fri, 25 Apr 2014 10:51:05 -0700, Oren wrote:

I kept reading on the web about the vinegar (especially in the wash). Not one article said *how* it would work.
I don't do things without knowing why I'm doing them (just as I don't throw parts at my car when fixing it). I try to understand WHY and then the how comes out of that.
So, on the vinegar, I just don't understand how it could possibly work when it's not literally "on" the mold itself?
And, if vinegar kills the mold when it's literally "on" the mold, then I'd just use bleach instead, which I know kills mold (by oxidizing it).
So, I'm not so sure HOW vinegar could possibly work. If anyone knows ... I'm all ears.
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On Fri, 25 Apr 2014 16:07:25 +0000 (UTC), "Danny D."

Assuming you've cleaned and sanitized everything, try setting out an open bowl of white vinegar. Or try activated charcoal in a bowl to absorb odors.
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The only thing wet would be the toilet.
Have you sniffed around the bowl and especially the tank?
Then, how about the shower and/or tube drain?
Finally, the exhaust fan?
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I would spray both sides of each towel that was washed with their stuff with Fabreeze.
There are molds that will stick tenaciously to surfaces despite those surfaces having been cleaned. When tenants move out of apartments I often find that there are stains in the stainless steel kitchen sinks that don't come off with regular washing. The stains have to be killed with bleach, and that means they're alive. I expect what you have is mold that's sticking to the towels tenaciously and needs to be killed somehow. As bleach would discolour the towels, I'd try using Fabreeze.
Bacteria and fungii are very sensitive to the pH of their environment. If the Fabreeze doesn't kill the smell, I'd try rinsing the towels in a 10:1 solution of vinegar in water (1 part vinegar to 10 parts water). That should kill the bacteria causing the smell.
--
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'Danny D.[_10_ Wrote: > ;3227395']

We humans are very sensitive to the amount of oxygen in our atmosphere. If you reduce the amount of oxygen from 22 percent down to 15 or 16 percent, our muscles and brain are starved of oxygen and we have trouble thinking and performing simple tasks.
Fungii are just as sensitive to the pH of their environment. If they come into contact with something too acidic, they die.
Mold and bathroom style "mildew" are just different kinds of fungii. If they come into contact with something acidic, it will kill them.
Dead mold doesn't smell.
--
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TRUE, forgot all about vinegar. We bought a pallet of glacial acetic acid in those chemical gallon jugs. Ms. Macy uses it to wash her silk blouses! Hey, silk was around way before dry cleaning. Plus, silk dyes are 'set' with acid' so this brightens the colors back. She even washes her suits, like Yves Saint Laurent silk suit from Neiman Marcus in very strong acid and they come out better than the best dry cleaner [that dry cleaner was located in Los Gatos, CA; cost twice anywhere else; and CHANGED the chemicals everyday selling the chemicals to other dry cleaners!] by the way, when I complained to the owner about the quality of cleaning, she suggested I go elsewhere, I guess she only wanted idiotic rich people to go there. I was happy to stop going there. It sounds icky to have your clothes put in with everybody else's clothes and run through cycles en masse. Yecch!
The advantage of vinegar is that you can use it effectively on fabrics [and colors] that otherwise won't hold up to bleach!
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WRONG! Lived in SV for 30 years and totally fought mold all the time. Especially in the watered lawn. The California soil is alkaline and has a preference for mold. Couple that with living in San Jose at the 'end' of the water supply run and we had absolutely no discernible chlorine in our water by the time it got to us. So....periodically we had to bleach the inside of our toilet tanks to purge the slime mold. It looks like a clear jelly if allowed to grow enough. When not enough to see the jelly, it simply feels 'slick', thus the name, 'slime' mold. Has a distinctive musty smell, like a damp basement. Best defense, is a bleach scrub down. And rewash the towels with heavy bleach. In other words, "IT'S ALIVE!"
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I like to re-use those half quart juice bottles as handy carafes, for fridge water or my leftover coffee. Clean out, pour extra coffee in, save for next day to not waste. Forgot about coffee once and it developed something floating in there, slime mold probably. poured out filled with 1:4 bleach to water and let sit 24 hours. cleaned out and the plastic STILL smelled of mold! Had to trash that container. Learned just how porous that plastic really is! Not like glass containers.
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Danny-
It may be just coincidence that you noticed the smell after the guests washed their moldy stuff with your towels.
Mold or mildew smell is sometimes associated with a roof leak. The mold could have been growing in the wood above your bathroom ever since the last time it rained.
If there is an attic access point anywhere, just sticking your nose up there might tell you where the smell is coming from.
Fred
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I think that Concrobium will probably work. It's cheap, it is completely safe and non-toxic, it doesn't smell, you can spray it on just about anything, and it is available at Home Depot etc:
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Concrobium-32-oz-Mold-Control-025326/100654126 .
Click on the video link on the Home Depot page.
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