Mold vs. Mildew: What’s the Difference?

Mold Vs. Mildew: What'S The Difference?

Mold and mildew are two common household problems that often get confused with each other. While both mold and mildew are forms of fungi that thrive in damp and humid environments – they are not the same.

By learning about their differences, you can better understand how to prevent and treat these pesky nuisances. In this article, we’ll explore the key characteristics of mold vs mildew, as well as their causes, effects, and how to get rid of them. Let’s jump in:

How Do You Identify Mold and Mildew in the Home?

To the untrained eye, mold growth and mildew may look very similar. They both thrive in moist environments and can grow on a variety of surfaces in your home. However, there are a few key differences that can help you identify which one you’re dealing with.

Key Characteristics of Mold

A Wooden Beam With A Pipe Attached, Showing Signs Of Mold.

Mold growth typically appears as fuzzy or slimy patches that can be black, green, or gray in color. It usually has a musty odor (often described as a “rotting” smell), and mold spores can grow and spread quickly if left untreated. In fact, it only takes 24 to 48 hours for mold to grow in the right conditions. 

You can find mold growing on a variety of surfaces, such as walls, ceilings, carpets, and even fabric.

Key Characteristics of Mildew

Mold Testing Being Conducted In A Bathroom, Ensuring A Safe And Healthy Environment.

On the other hand, mildew growth is usually found in flat patches and appears as a powdery substance. It can range in color from gray to white or yellow. Mildew tends to have a musty smell – but it is not as strong as the odor associated with mold.

Mildew growth is most commonly found on shower walls and windowsills but can also grow on fabrics, paper, and plants. It does not, however, penetrate deep into a structure like a mold growth can. This means that mildew is usually easier to treat than removing mold.

What Causes Mold and Mildew to Grow in Homes?

Both mold and mildew require moisture to grow, which is why they are often found in damp or humid areas of a home.

Common Causes Of Mold And Mildew Growth

Some common causes of mold and mildew growth include:

  • High humidity levels (above 60%) 
  • Leaky pipes or roofs 
  • Flooding or water damage 
  • Poor ventilation   
  • Wet or damp materials (e.g., carpet, fabric)  
  • Condensation on windows and walls    

It’s important to address these issues as soon as they are noticed in order to prevent mold and mildew growth from getting worse. 

Health Effects of Mold and Mildew Exposure

Health Effects Of Mold

While both mold exposure and mildew can be unsightly and damaging to your home, they can also pose a health risk to those living in the affected space.

Mildew is less harmful than mold, but can still cause respiratory issues, especially in those with allergies, weakened immune systems, or asthma. Meanwhile, mold exposure can cause more severe health issues such as:

  • Allergic reactions (e.g., sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes)
  • Respiratory problems (e.g., coughing, wheezing, asthma attacks) 
  • Headaches 
  • Fatigue 
  • Skin irritation

In extreme cases, prolonged mold exposure can even lead to more severe health issues, such as lung infections or neurological problems. It’s essential to address any mold or mildew growth in your home to ensure the safety and well-being of you and your family.

How to Remove Mold and Mildew

Workers In Biohazard Costume Removing Dirt From Sofa

If you suspect that your home has mold or mildew growth, it’s important to address it as soon as possible. Here’s how you can remove mold vs. mildew:

Mildew Removal 

You can easily remove mildew from hard surfaces such as tiles or countertops using a mild detergent or household cleaner. Scrub the affected area with a disposable brush or sponge and rinse with water. Be sure to dry the area thoroughly after cleaning to prevent regrowth.

Mildew also can’t survive a very hot wash. So, if you’re dealing with mildew on clothing or bedding, simply run them through a hot water cycle in the washing machine and dry thoroughly. In any case, be sure to handle mildew-infected items with gloves and wash your hands after handling them.

Mold Removal

Removing mold is a bit trickier than mildew. If the affected area is small, you may be able to handle it yourself with the following steps:

  1. Wear protective gear such as gloves, goggles, and a mask.
  2. Use a mixture of mild detergent and warm water to clean the affected area.
  3. Scrub the moldy area with a brush or sponge and rinse thoroughly with water.
  4. Dry the area completely using fans or dehumidifiers.
  5. Dispose of any contaminated items that cannot be cleaned, such as clothing and personal items.

If the mold growth covers a larger area (more than 10 square feet) or is located in areas that are difficult to access, it’s best to hire a professional mold removal service. These experts have specialized equipment and training to remove mold from your home safely.

Preventing Mold and Mildew Growth in the Home

Prevention is key when it comes to mold and mildew growth in the home. Here are some tips to keep your home free from these pesky fungi:

  1. Keep humidity levels in check by using a dehumidifier or air conditioner.
  2. Fix any leaks or water damage immediately.
  3. Ensure proper ventilation in areas prone to moisture problems, such as bathrooms and basements.
  4. Clean and dry any damp areas within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth. 
  5. Avoid carpeting in areas with high moisture levels.
  6. Store items in well-ventilated areas to prevent mold growth on belongings.
  7. Regularly inspect your home for signs of mold and mildew growth, especially in dark and damp areas.

Taking immediate action is important if you discover mold or mildew in your home. By taking preventative measures and addressing mold growth promptly, you can keep your home safe and healthy for you and your family.

How To Prevent Mold And Mildew Growth In The Home

Ready to Tackle Mold and Mildew?

Don’t let mold and mildew take over your home. At Drico Restoration, we specialize in mold remediation services to help keep your home free from these harmful fungi. Our team of experts uses the latest techniques and equipment to safely remove mold from your home, ensuring a clean and healthy living environment for you and your loved ones.

Contact us today to learn more about our services.

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Ali Wallace

Ali Wallace is the owner and founder of Drico Restoration, a Gulfport-based company specializing in water, fire, and mold damage restoration. With a deep commitment to her community, Ali has built a reputation for compassionate service and high-quality workmanship during times of crisis. Her dedication to transparency and client-focused solutions has earned the trust of countless homeowners and businesses throughout the region. With years of experience in the restoration industry, Ali continues to lead her team in restoring not just properties, but also peace of mind.