Mildew and Mold. What are some of the similarities and differences?

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Differences Between Mildew and Mold

Differences Between Mildew and Mold

Mold and mildew are both unwanted guests when they enter your home. Left unchecked, they can cause property damage and health problems. If you care about the health of your family, it is crucial to know how to spot mold and mildew, and the differences between the two.

What Are the Differences Between Mildew and Mold?

Both mold and mildew are types of fungi. Fungi are an entire kingdom of its own, separate from plants and animals. Mold will often grow on food, while mildew will grow on damp surfaces. They have different definitions. Mildew is a flat growth form of the fungi. Mold is defined as fungi with multiple identical nuclei, growing in filaments.


Mildew can have a downy or powdery appearance. It can begin as yellow spots that gradually get larger and change to brown. It could also be whitish, then switch to brown and black.

Mold is fuzzy in appearance and comes in all shapes and sizes. It could be orange, green, purple, black, brown, or pink. It also comes in many different forms. Items that have mold on them often start to rot.

Biological Differences

Mold gets its energy from organic matter like food. It secretes enzymes that break down complex substances like cellulose and starch. This nourishment is reabsorbed to provide sustenance.  Mold reproduction is either sexual or asexual, through the distribution of spores.

Mildew grows on plants and surfaces like fabric, shower curtains, and paper. Reproduction is also asexual or sexual through producing spores, and mildew is invisible to the naked eye until it starts to grow.

Health Effects

Exposure to mold spores can cause respiratory problems and allergic reactions. Mold produces mycotoxins, which produce these effects. Allergic reactions can include nose and throat irritation, difficulty breathing, headaches, sneezing, and irritation of the eyes. Mycotoxins in Black Mold are particularly dangerous, especially for children and elderly.

Mildew usually affects crops and plants. If it gets in the house where people can breathe it into their lungs, it can start growing there. This situation causes severe problems for your health.

Psychological Effects

Prolonged exposure to mold can also cause severe mental effects that affect emotions and personality. Exposure can cause mood swings, irritability, forgetfulness, and decreased productivity. Also, it can also lead to depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. Toxic Mold Syndrome can have many different symptoms.

How Can You Get Rid of Mold and Mildew?

Are treatments for mold and mildew different? Mainly, you follow the same steps when getting rid of all kinds of molds. They like to eat the dust and dirt that gathers in moist, dark areas of your home. So, the first step is to get rid of the conditions in which they thrive.

Don’t Make Things Worse

First, you will want to fix the moisture problem that is inviting growth. These projects are often best left up to a professional because if you don’t get every bit, you will be right back where you started. Chores during this phase include sealing up leaky air conditioning ducts, fixing a leaky roof, reflashing and recaulking windows, and even re-grading your yard. Until you solve the source of the moisture, you can’t fix your mold problem.

Remove Damaged Materials

Depending on the scope of the problem, this also is an excellent job to leave up to the professionals. When removing items destroyed by mold, it’s essential to wear the proper respiratory gear to protect your lungs. It is vital to do this carefully, so you don’t stir up more mold spores. Discarded items should be double-bagged for safety.

Remove Mold and Mildew

It is vital that you remove every bit of mold and mildew from your home, or it will start growing again. Professionals use the latest mold detection technology to find it, thus ensuring the job is done correctly. The critical factors in completely removing mold are:

  1. Fixing leaky windows, roofs, and pipes
  2. Removing ruined carpets, furniture, and drywall
  3. Controlling the humidity level in your home
  4. Cleaning and drying thoroughly after a flood
  5. Ventilating moist areas like showers and laundry rooms

In states like South Florida, it is crucial to keep humidity levels low. Humidity levels should be no higher than 50%. Maintain these standards with air conditioners and dehumidifiers. Installing the proper fans and vents are also important. Licenced professionals can guide you through every step of the process, from inspection to water extraction to water damage repair.

Mold and mildew have their differences, but they are both dangerous to have in your home. If you suspect there is mold or mildew, call the professionals to do a thorough inspection. You can then take steps to completely get rid of the mold to prevent health problems and structural damage. Mold and mildew need to be taken seriously before the trouble gets out of hand.


Case Studies

The Kitchen Ceiling Problem

We received a call from a homeowner that was distraught as he had just walked into his rental property and was seeing mold and water damage up on the ceiling. His tenants had moved out a few days before and when he went in to inspect the property he noticed a musty odor throughout as […]

Water Damage from Water Heater

A water heater line broke and damaged the walls, floors, and kitchen cabinets. We came in and repaired the drywall, cabinets, and flooring in the kitchen and two adjacent rooms.

Shower Floor Leak

We got a call that a homeowner was having issues in and around their shower in their bathroom. They had an older home and it was wood construction so we feared the worst. When we got into the bathroom it was as we had feared: the leaks went through the tile into the walls and […]