You see something strange and unsightly on the surfaces in your home and immediately your mind starts questioning what it is and how to get rid of it. Is it mold? Is it mildew? What is mold anyway and how is it different than mildew? How does one clean or get rid of mold or mildew? Are mold and mildew the same thing?
What is Mold and How is it Different than Mildew?
Both mildew and mold are types of fungi, and they are both known to be found in the home. They both thrive when there is moisture in the environment and can be difficult to get rid of. Both mold and mildew can be sneaky and spread quickly without homeowners ever knowing they exist. They also each grow on a variety of surfaces from food to your shower and even a single sheet of paper.
And it goes without saying that neither mold nor mildew is a welcoming sight to a homeowner.
So, yes … mold and mildew share a lot of commonalities. In many ways, they are similar. However, mold and mildew are different. They have different sizes, shapes and colors as well as risk factors, and there are different ways of dealing with each.
A homeowner should understand the answer to the question “What is mold?” as well as to the question “What is mildew?” so that when one or both of these fungi are noticed, they can be dealt with properly and promptly.
How are Mold and Mildew Different?
You may think mold and mildew are one and the same, but there are many differences between the two. You can think of mildew as a type of mold.
Mold is a type of fungus that grows in the form of black or green patches and easily penetrates the surface of whatever it is growing on. Mold can even appear as fuzzy or slimy in texture. Mold is typically the result of larger infestation than mildew.
Mildew typically grows flat and doesn’t penetrate the surface, making it easier to clean and get rid of. It is typically a patch of gray or white fungus.
Problems Associated with Mold and Mildew
Mold and mildew can cause damage around your home. Neither mold nor mildew should be left untreated. Once you identify either one, you should remove it to minimize damage and further growth.
Mold is well known for causing structural damage to homes. It can also cause severe health problems including allergic reactions, migraine headaches, respiratory problems, inflammation and mental issues. There are over 10,000 different types of mold so the effects on your home and health will vary greatly depending on which type is in your house. Because of the numerous types of mold, you must know the answer to both “what is mold?” and “what type of mold is this?” when you find mold in your home.
Mildew isn’t associated with a high degree of structural damage but it can damage plants and crops. It can also cause some health problems including headaches and respiratory problems.
Mold and Mildew Prevention
Prevention is always worth its weight in gold, and this holds true when it comes to mold and mildew. It is much easier to prevent mold and mildew than it is to get rid of it once you have a big problem.
Mold and mildew need moisture to grow so the first step in mold and mildew prevention is to keep excess moisture out of your home. Use a demudifier to keep the humidity in your house low (40-50%). Always have your heating and cooling systems inspected annually to make sure they are working properly as good air circulation can help prevent moisture build up. If you find any leaks in your home, you should fix them right away. Inspect your attic, basement and perimeter of your home in addition to your roof so that you can find leaks quickly and deal with them promptly. If water does get in your home, dry it out as quickly as possible and follow other mold remediation and prevention guidelines.
Mold and Mildew Clean Up
Once you discover mold or mildew in your home, it must be cleaned up and remediated. If left untreated, the problem will continue to get worse. Mold especially is a serious condition. If you’ve seen some or suspect it in your home, you may be wondering what the best method is to remove it. No matter what, mold is definitely different than your typical home maintenance project. When it comes to mold remediation in your home, should you try to DIY or should you call in the professionals?
Clean up depends on how much mold is in your home, how deep the infestation is and what type of mold it is. This is why most professionals who are knowledgeable about mold recommend you at least have a professional inspection completed before attempting to remove mold yourself. There are also mold test kits that you can buy and use yourself.
Mildew is an easier problem to deal with if you can contain it. Because it doesn’t penetrate surfaces, it can usually be wiped down with special anti fungal cleaners. The key is complete removal because any mildew left behind can multiply and quickly become a problem again.
While mold and mildew may not be at the top of your favorite topic list, they are a subject that cannot be ignored once spotted in your home. Hopefully, you now have a better idea of the question “what is mold and how is it different than mildew?” It is especially important to know the facts on mold and mildew if you are a homeowner. You need to know how to prevent it and what to do if you find some in your home. If you want to know more, there are lots of resources available to you online. There are also mold professionals who specialize in inspection and remediation. These professionals will be able to answer all of your questions and provide recommendations on the best way to get rid of the mold or mildew in your home. If you have any doubt, please reach out.