How to Identify Mold and Mildew

Jim Bauer Home Maintenance and Repair

The terms mold and mildew are sometimes used synonymously to describe a number of fungal growths common in a home or office. While they are certainly quite similar, there is actually quite a bit of difference between them. They are both treated in similar ways, but mold presents a much larger issue and requires more extensive eradication methods. Being able to spot them effectively can save you a world of frustration. 

What Is Mold?

Mold often appears as a thick, slightly furry growth. In higher concentrations, it can even be mistaken for a plant. It is often slimy to the touch and comes in a variety of colors. The color is indicative of the type of mold present, and is also influenced by what is feeding it, or what it’s growing on. Colors range between black, blue, green, and yellowish hues.

Mold most commonly grows on organic materials, such as discarded food or wooden objects. It requires a presence of moisture to flourish.

Small patches of mold present on furniture can be dealt with by mixing a solution of one gallon of water to a single cup of bleach. The solution is then scrubbed over the infested area to kill the infection, and is then dried but not rinsed. After treatment, the affected area should be dried thoroughly and care should be taken to avoid reintroducing moisture. Larger patches, such as in walls or building structures, require professional attention as they may indicate much larger issues in the home or business.

What Is Mildew?

Mildew is generally either powdery or feathery, and is much lighter than its fungal sibling. Mildew may appear on plants, but is commonly found inside the home in places where moisture is consistently present. This is usually in bathrooms, but it can also show up on clothing or papers if they are left damp for too long. Mildew appears like a fine, spore-laden powder, or is sometimes crystalline like sugar or salt when present on plants. It is usually gray or white in color.

Mildew is generally easier to treat, being a much less aggressive fungus. It can be handled in much the same way as its fungal sibling, using a mild bleach solution.

Health Risks

Aside from a somewhat similar appearance, these two fungi have a few big differences. While both can be a detriment to those with respiratory conditions, mold is considerably more dangerous to both health and home. It is more aggressive, often spreading very rapidly. Those with allergies can have severe responses to homes with a mold infestation. Sure, some great things have been produced from mold, such as penicillin, but that doesn’t mean you want it hanging about your home.

The best way to deal with fungal presence in your home is to have a professional evaluation. Damage to a structure is a realistic danger, and it is always best to have the peace of mind that a professional can bring.

Do you suspect mold in your home? Click here to schedule an assessment, or call us at 469-656-7000.