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The Telling Signs for Mildew and Mold


Knowing the difference between mildew and mold can help protect your home and you health.Though related, mildew and mold have drastically different impacts on your house. Both mildew and mold are bad for your home, your belongings, and your health. Know the difference in their appearances and growth patterns so you will know when to call in the experts.

Similarities Between Mold and Mildew

Let’s start with how mildew and mold are similar. Mold and mildew are two different types of fungus. Both these fungi grow in moist, humid areas with little light. They begin to grow when spores land on a good place that is moist enough and has enough of a food source. They thrive on organic materials, including food, plants, and soil but also on clothing, drywall, fabric, insulation, upholstery, and wood. Under the right conditions, mildew and mold can grow on plastics or metals. Left on their own, both mildew and mold will grow continuously.

Mildew: A Case to Avoid

Mildew - What to look for:

  • Brown or grayish-white coloring
  • Flat growth
  • Powdery, almost dusty
  • Foul smell

Mildew is less invasive and problematic as mold. Mildew is a brown or grayish-white, substance that sticks to the surface of some material (typically a plant or tiles). Mildew can end up killing a plant, so make sure to keep an eye on your plant’s growth. If you think you have some mildew at home, cleaning the area with vinegar or a bleach solution to wipe and kill the growth. 

Mildew can cause coughing, headaches, and sore throats. Mildew is less severe because it is much easier to get rid of than mold. A quick bleach clean-up will put a final stop to mildew’s growth.

Mold: Now We’ve Got a Problem

Mold - What to look for:

  • Black, dark green, or bright red coloring
  • Fuzzy growth
  • Musty, foul smell

Mold is the more troublesome fungi because it can hide under the surface. Be on the lookout for a musty, foul smell - usually the first sign. If you smell the stink, break out the protective mask and flashlight and go on a fungi search.

The fuzzy growth pattern and bright colors will be more tips that you have mold, and not mildew, on your hands. Even if a patch looks like a smudge of dirt, make sure to check it out. Even a small visible area can be harmful because most of the mold lies under the surface. Mold growing under the surface is what makes its removal expensive and labor-intensive. Make sure to call in professionals if you suspect mold.

Absolute Service provides fire, water, and mold damage restoration for clients in the southeast Michigan area. For more information on our mold remediation services, click here. If you believe you have mold or want a second opinion, call the Absolute Service experts 24/7 for immediate attention at (248) 655-7100.

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