You often hear of mold and mildew mentioned at the same time, and there’s a good reason for this: the two substances are often found together and have a lot in common. Both are a type of fungus that commonly grows in homes, particularly in places that are damp or wet from recent water damage. Both also have spores that float around in the air around us, meaning there’s not much we can really do to prevent them from settling and growing in dark, moist places. However, there are some important differences between them, which we’ll look at on this blog.
If you show someone a mold or mildew stain, most won’t know which is which without guessing. In fact, the two appear together so often that many people think they’re the same thing. However, mildew is typically white or grey and has a somewhat fluffy texture. Often times people confuse this for being part of mold because it’s typically seen alongside mold growths. Mold on the other hand can be a wide range of colors, including blue, brown, and grey, but it’s most commonly found in either green or black. The black stuff is what you have to really watch out for: it’s the most harmful type you can find.
Where and how mold and mildew grow is another huge key difference. Mildew is only found in dark, damp places without a lot of air flow. Generally, surfaces that tend to absorb moisture are where you’ll find it as well, such as on papered walls, in fabrics, or other types of organic matter (including spoiled food). This is because mildew is a surface-level fungus, and doesn’t have the ability to penetrate deep into materials.
On the other hand, mold can penetrate through the surface of something, and it usually does. Often times mold colonies are like icebergs: you can see some on the surface but the actual damage could be considerably worse. If you notice it growing on your drywall or even in the wood framing inside your walls, you could have a serious problem on your hands. Mold can also be hard to avoid because different species will grow under different conditions: some like wet, cool areas whereas others grow faster whereas others prefer places that are warmer.