Mold or Mildew: Which Is In Your Home and How Do You Treat It?

Mar 7, 2021 | Blog

What’s the Difference Between Mold and Mildew?

Mold and mildew are often mentioned together when speaking about potentially harmful microorganisms in home. While they share many of the same traits, mold and mildew present different health risks and require different kinds of treatment. It often will take the trained eye of a professional in the mold assessment industry in Florida to determine the difference between the look, effects, and treatment of mold and mildew.

The differences between mold and mildew can be detected when examining the infestation site and what is being damaged. Signs of mold can typically be found on organic matter like paper and clothing and in ceilings, basements, walls, and floors that are high in moisture and dampness. Some species of mold release a strong, musty aroma. Mildew thrives on bathroom walls and windowsills and other high-moisture areas.

Telling the Difference Between Mold and Mildew

While they may seem to look and act similarly, mold and mildew do have striking differences in their appearance, effects, and treatment. Both produce pungent odors and pose threats to the health of those with certain allergies and other maladies. Identifying each can help decide the best treatment and cleaning options and present ways to help prevent the growth in the future.

Mold Appearance

Mold will likely appear fuzzy or slimy with irregularly-shaped spots of varying colors, including black, blue, brown, gray, green, yellow, or white. Surfaces with significant mold coverage may begin to rot over time.

Mildew Appearance

Mildew is typically gray, white, or yellow that lies flat on moist surfaces. Growing in a flat pattern that can look like powder, mildew will likely turn brown or black if left unattended.

Mold Effects

If left untreated, mold can cause substantial structural damage. Some molds can result in a range of health issues, particularly for those with allergies, asthma, and other respiratory issues. Black mold can cause long-term health issues for people with compromised immune systems and younger children.

Mildew Effects

When inhaled, microscopic mildew spores can cause coughing, sore throat, headache, and a variety of respiratory issues. Mildew can also infect plants and destroy valuable crops.

Cleaning Treatment for Mold

Because mold can only be seen after it starts growing and expanding colonies, mold can be tough to spot and difficult to clean. Mold is an aggressive fungus that attaches to suitable materials and penetrates deep below the surface.

These defining characteristics make mold prevention and early detection more challenging than mildew. Potentially harmful mold spores grow and spread quickly in hard-to-reach areas, typically requiring the services of a trained technician in the mold assessment industry .

Cleaning Treatment for Mildew

By contrast, mildew is a surface fungus that is relatively easy to clean using a commercially-available cleaner, a strong brush, and the proper safety gear.

How to Prevent Mold and Mildew

Mold and mildew growth are most common in areas of high moisture like the bathroom, kitchen, basement, and crawl spaces. The best way to handle dangerous fungi is to prevent them from growing and thriving in the first place. Regular cleaning and inspection of potential problem areas is the first step to heading off mold or mildew growth before it gets out of hand. 

Ways to reduce the conditions that lead to mold and mildew growth include:

  • Quickly dry areas that become wet.
  • Ensure proper ventilation throughout the home.
  • Use mold-resistant products and materials.
  • Monitor and adjust indoor humidity levels.
  • Direct water away from the home.
  • Make sure the gutter system is clean and working properly.

Contact Florida Hygiene Corp. Today

At Florida Environmental Hygiene Corp., a team of state-licensed and certified mold assessors bring over two decades of professional experience in residential and commercial mold inspection and mold testing techniques. Contact us for complete information and schedule a mold inspection service at your property today.

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