How to Tell the Difference Between Mold and Mildew
It’s actually pretty common to mistake mildew for mold or mold for mildew. They both, in fact, are fungi that can be found in homes. They both thrive off of moisture and darkness which is why you usually find them present in bathrooms, basements, crawl spaces, and under sinks. So what is the difference between mold and mildew? Are they both bad for your home? Below we will cover the characteristics, dangers, and treatment of both.
What Does Mold Look Like? What Does Mildew Look Like?
Mildew is a specific type of mold that grows on the surface of things. It can appear as a flat, patchy or powdery discoloration. It’s typically white or brown that can turn yellowish or black as it grows. Due to the fact that mildew grows along the surface, it can usually be wiped off very easily. It does become a little more cumbersome to clean when the mildew grows on a porous surface like tile grout or fabrics.
Unlike mildew, mold not only grows on the surface but below the surface also. Mold is usually black, green or blue in color. It can appear either fuzzy or slimy. Since mold tends to grow underneath the surface, once it has been spotted it can usually mean there’s more mold damage beneath the surface. For instance, if you spot mold growing on your wall or ceiling of your Quincy home, there’s a good chance that it didn’t start there. It most likely started beneath the surface of the drywall from a water leak or high moisture content. In fact, it could have started somewhere else and spread to your drywall on your ceiling and/or wall.
The Smell of Mold and Mildew
Another sign of mold and mildew is a distinct odor. The smell of mildew is foul and smelly. It can smell like dirty laundry or a forest during the rain. One of the most common times people get a whiff of mildew or the start of mildew is when they forget to remove wet clothes from their washer for a few days.
Mold tends to have more of a musty, pungent smell. Most of us have gotten a little too close to mold and smelled its pungent odor when we’ve opened a food container in our fridge that hasn’t been opened in weeks, if not, months. Mold is a common occurrence on foods due to the fact that mold feeds and grows off of food and organic matter.
Can Mildew or Mold Cause Damage?
Mildew is typically not dangerous or harmful. It can usually be cleaned and removed easily. It may look unsightly but it won’t typically damage grout, tile, or surfaces. With mildewy clothes, you can simply wash them with detergent and it will remove the mildew. Mildew can, however, cause damage to crops. Mildew growing on crops out in the field can cause the crops to rot or bruise.
Mold, on the other hand, is not so kind to your home. Mold, if caught early, could be removed without having to replace any structure. This issue is that mold usually isn’t discovered until it has caused extensive damage to a home’s structure. Since mold flourishes under the surface, the damage to walls, ceilings, floors, insulation, siding, and framing has already been compromised. In many instances, the structural materials affected need to be removed and replaced.
Is It Bad or Is It Just Mildew?
If in doubt about whether you have a mildew problem or a mold problem in your home, it’s always best to call the mold remediation professionals at SERVPRO of Quincy. They have the expertise and know-how to identify the problem and take immediate action if it is property-destroying mold. It doesn’t take much for mold to thrive and grow and until it is stopped by mold remediation pros, it will continue to cause damage to your home. Call SERVPRO of Quincy for an evaluation of your home's mold problem.