If you see a strange spot or small growth in your home, you might wonder whether it is mold or mildew. While both can be harmful to your home if left untreated, they each have distinct features that require specific remedies.
Mold and mildew are both common occurrences, especially in homes that have moist areas and those where warm weather is more frequent. While there are some acceptable levels of both fungi, homeowners should worry and reach out to an expert remediation specialist if the growth takes over large areas of the home or is leading to health issues.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has long known that there is sufficient evidence to link indoor mold with asthma and upper respiratory tract symptoms. Often, this link is more severe for children. It can also cause memory loss, lethargy, and sometimes much more dangerous symptoms. Both fungi are serious problems that homeowners need to take care of as quickly as possible.
But what is mildew? What is mold? This guide will help you figure out what those weird dark spots may be and who you need to call to take care of the problem before it spreads too far.
What is the difference between mold and mildew?
Both mildew and mold are fungi that grow in warm, moist areas, and they could potentially be found in any number of places, from food to the shower to the basement floor. But there are some differences between the two that can help you determine which one you may have in your home.
- Mold is a fungus that usually the result of a much larger infestation inside your home. There are hundreds of thousands of variants of mold, many of which grow outside and are beneficial to the planet. The ones that grow inside homes, however, are not.
- Mildew is a surface growth that can be treated in small doses. It is more harmful to plants and trees, but growth indoors can cause irritation if you breathe in the spores.
What does mildew look like?
Mildew generally presents itself as a patch of gray or whitish fungus that appears on the surface of a moist area. The texture almost feels fluffy or powdery.
What does mold look like?
Mold can be black, green or a number of different colors. You’ve probably seen mold on bread that looks fuzzy. But it can also appear slimy on certain surfaces.
What are signs your home has mold?
There are several signs to be aware of if you are wondering whether your home has mold. Some of the symptoms include:
- Musty smell or damp areas
- Constant allergy symptoms or colds
- Water issues in your home
- Nose bleeds or headaches
- History of flooding in your home
- Evidence of growths
Is mildew mold?
There is some debate when it comes to mildew vs. mold, but essentially, mildew is a kind of early-stage mold. The difference between mold and mildew is that mildew can be treated somewhat easier than mold, with certain household products able to stop its spread.
What about black mold vs. regular mold?
There are two different kinds of black mold. One, most commonly known as Cladosporium, is not toxic but can cause allergy symptoms, just like regular molds. The toxic form of black mold is called Stachybotrys chartarum. It is most commonly found in attics and can be extremely harmful if ingested or inhaled. As far as black mold vs. mildew, the latter will never appear in a black form and is not toxic, compared to the serious issues black mold can cause.
What will happen during a mold cleaning?
Professional mold remediation experts can help you determine whether you have mold or mildew, or toxic or non-toxic infestation. They can help sanitize your property and prevent the growth of mold in the future. Testing can help figure out where the mold or mildew originates, and the removal process should be thorough enough to create a safe and healthy environment going forward.
Heat and humidity help make for a climate conducive to mold and mildew growth. If you spot anything strange in your home or feel as if you are having health problems, contact an experienced mold specialist to examine your home and start the deep-cleaning process.