Two closely related problems that home owners commonly experience are mold and mildew growth. These unwelcome guests are the cause of unpleasant odors, property damage and loss, and even of serious health problems. Knowing how to distinguish mold from mildew and how to prevent and eradicate both is useful information for every homeowner.
How Are Mold and Mildew the Same?
Mold and mildew have much in common, and we can note those commonalities first. Both tend to grow in wet, moist, or humid conditions. Both are members of the fungi family. Both have very similar effects on your property and on your health. Keeping living spaces dry, using a dehumidifier, quickly fixing any leaking pipes, and minimizing condensation build-up on heating and cooling systems will help prevent both mold and mildew growth in your home.
Characteristics of Mold
Mold is more prone than mildew to grow on food products, but it can also be found growing on fabrics and walls. Your refrigerator and washing machine are among the more likely locations to find it. Mold often enters a home with the groceries or festers in the garbage can on old, discarded food. For this reason, it is best to consume perishable food products within three to four days and to dispose of garbage bags holding food products quickly. To identify mold and distinguish it from mildew, you should note that mold has a fibrous and “fuzzy” texture. The color is usually green or black, but it may also be orange, brown, pink, or purple.
Characteristics of Mildew
Mildew is frequently found on shower curtains, window sills, walls, and moist clothing. Any damp surface is a likely spot for mildew to grow. Add in warmth and the organic nutrients found in dirt and oil, and mildew spores will soon land and grow in such ideal conditions. Keeping the walls clean and dry is one of the best ways to prevent mildew from growing in your home. Mildew can be distinguished from mold by sight in that it is flat and more powdery, almost like talcum powder. In color, mildew is normally white or gray, though it can also be yellow or black.
Causes of Mold and Mildew
Despite your best efforts to prevent fungi growth in your home, it cannot always be avoided. When your home has been flooded due to a torrential downpour or burst pipe, mold and mildew may follow. If the sewage system backs up and overflows, the results will be even more severe. Water damage, whether small or great, regularly brings mold and mildew in its wake.
Mold and Mildew Removal
Mild and spotty fungal growth can often be dealt with by using a store-bought anti-fungal product. However, when the situation is more extensive and fungi seems to have found a home in every nook and cranny, or when toxic forms of fungus are involved, you should call in a mold remediation company right away. Mold and mildew remediation services serve to eliminate the fungal growth and prevent a return. By getting into areas that are hard to see and hard to reach, mold remediation professionals can drastically reduce the chances of a quick re-growth. They also can act quickly to prevent further property damage and health problems.
Black mold and some forms of mildew are toxic and can cause allergic reactions, respiratory problems, coughing, headaches, and worse. When dangerous fungi is living with you in your home, it is time to get help quickly.