Mold vs Mildew: How to Tell the Difference

Published January 3rd, 2020 by Devteam

Mold and mildew can both be a headache for homeowners.

They're not the same fungus, however, and the steps needed to remove them are quite different.

Wondering what that blotchy patch is?

Read on. We'll compare mold vs. mildew head-on so that you can tell the difference and know which steps to take.

Mold vs. Mildew Visual Differences

Both of these fungal varieties are common anywhere that moisture occurs. The easiest way to tell them apart is their growth pattern.

Mildew is more common. Its growth pattern is very flat, keeping tight to the surface that it's growing on and most often spreading out from a central point.

In contrast, mold will most often form fuzzy or raised patches. Mold often grows in several small patches across the infected area, creating smaller round patches as it continues to spread.

Both can come in a variety of different colors. Mildew is often light grey to greenish-black and has a slimy appearance. Mold, on the other hand, can come in a variety of different colors.

If you're unsure which you're dealing with you'll find that the primary visual difference in molds is the fact that it will often rise significantly above the surface. Mildew will usually remain "flat" to visual inspection.

Both cases require action but mold is usually a much more serious problem.

Differences in Danger

Mold and mildew are both fairly nasty for the human respiratory tract.

Mildew, as surface mold, rarely gets airborne to the degree that other mold can. It can usually be handled with a bleach-based cleaner and some elbow grease. It also doesn't get as deep in crevices, requiring higher ambient moisture.

Mildew is most often found on slicker surfaces such as shower tiles. It can occur in paper and other places that moisture can be hosted but it's not nearly as common.

Mold, on the other hand, can cause a much wider range of symptoms. These include serious respiratory illness, allergic reactions, and even contact dermatitis.

The infamous black mold, also known as Stachybotrys chartarum can cause serious illness for instance. It does so both through volatile compounds given off by it's growth cycle and specialized proteins known as mycotoxins.

Identifying whether a specific strain of mold is dangerous isn't something to be undertaken by an amateur.

So, while mildew can certainly cause a bit of coughing and allergic reactions... the right types of mold can lead to serious illness and hospitalization.

Take Care of Mold

When you're comparing mold vs. mildew a visual inspection often allows you to figure out what you're dealing with. Mildew is a common problem and is usually handled by the homeowner.

Molds, on the other hand, can be dangerous to the touch and release compounds that can leave you seriously ill.

If you're dealing with mold you need to call a professional. If you're in SoCal then you're in luck. Contact us today for the assistance you need in removing mold from your home.

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