Mold vs. Mildew: What’s the Difference?

Many people confuse mold and mildew, but there are a number of differences between the two. While they both are members of the fungi family, mildew is a more powdery, white to gray substance and tends to target plants whereas mold is green or black and attacks aging, stale, or rotting food. Both mold and mildew produce spores that travel through the air easily allowing them to spread quickly if not taken care of.

Mildew loves to attack plants and animals and tends to thrive in the more tropical, humid areas of the world. Mold on the other hand tends to attach itself to non-living materials such as plastic, wood, drywall, tile, or any other similar surface. They both love any type of moisture and will grow quickly and easily if left unchecked in favorable conditions.

Identifying a mold problem is only half the battle. Finding the root cause, such as water leaks, condensation, infiltration, or flooding, is necessary before you can completely eliminate mold. Many times it’s easy to spot. An obvious water or roof leak often leaves the tell tell signs of water stains before mold can take hold.

Other hiding spots for mold such as behind wallpaper for instance, can be more difficult to track down, especially if there are no visible signs like black or green spots showing through the wallpaper. Bathrooms without proper ventilation can get overly damp and have consistently high levels of humidity, a perfectly suited environment to promote mold growth.

Also keep in mind that not every instance of mold is of the toxic black mold variety. There are many different kinds of mold and while you don’t want any of them in your home, not all of them are as bad as black mold. Proper testing is recommended and there are a number of do-it-yourself mold testing kits that can be used.

If you suspect mold but can’t seem to find any it may be time to call in the big guns. Contacting a professional mold testing and inspection company may be necessary to help track down any hidden mold problems you may have. While this can be expensive, it may be necessary to completely eliminate your mold issues.

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