Mold Vs Mildew What Is The Difference

Mildew vs Mold: What is The Difference Between Them?

The terms mildew and mold are often thrown around interchangeably, and with good reason. They are both fungi that grow well in warm and moist environments. They can also spread very quickly and live on multiple types of surfaces.

Even though these two fungi have some similarities, they also have some notable differences. You should be aware of what sets them apart before you try to get rid of either one from your property.

Below, we’ll define the two, state their differences, and help you understand how to treat the problem you are currently facing.

What Is Mildew

What is Mildew?

Mildew is a specific type of mold. It tends to grow on flat, moist surfaces. Mildew will grow wood, drywall, and wallpaper, and is typically caused by humidity or moisture.

FEMA, or the Federal Emergency Management Agency, considers mildew to be mold in its early stages of growth.

What is Mold?

Mold is a type of fungus that grows from microscopic spores. It is naturally found outside in the form of these spores. They are important to ecosystems, as they help with decomposition and nutrient recycling. However, spores can make their way inside by sticking to your clothes or via your pets.

The CDC, or Center for Disease Control and Prevention, reports that there are anywhere between 10,000 to 300,000 types of mold in the world.

What Is Mold

The Main Differences Between Mildew And Mold

While mildew and mold are both unwanted types of fungi, there are some differences. In general, mildew tends to be less dangerous, as it is just mold in its early stages.

Check out how to distinguish between these two types of fungi and how they affect you and your home differently:


Mildew and mold have very different appearances in terms of texture and color. It has a powdery or downy texture while mold appears to be fuzzier.

Mildew starts out as white or yellow and can turn brown or other colors as it ages. Its more-developed counterpart can appear as many different colors including yellow, brown, green, blue, gray, black, or white.


Both fungi have what can be described as a musty smell. However, the latter will often have a much more potent smell.

Health Effects

Mildew most commonly affects indoor plants, but it can have negative health effects on someone who has allergies.

Mold is much more dangerous to human health. People who are exposed to this fungus can experience the following symptoms:

  • Sneezing
  • Nose stuffiness
  • Itchy eyes, nose, and throat
  • Dry, scaly skin
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tightening of the chest
  • Coughing and wheezing

Favorite Growing Spots

Both of these fungi require the following elements to grow:

  • Darkness
  • Moisture
  • Oxygen
  • Warmth

While these key factors of growth are the same for both fungi, they have different favorable growing spots:

  • Mildew thrives on flat surfaces. You will mainly find it on shower walls and windowsills.
  • On the other hand, mold can grow in more versatile spots like upholstery, fabric, carpet, and wood and paper products.

Degrees of Structural Damage

Most often, mildew is an aesthetic problem. Mold is what will cause damage to your home’s structural integrity.

However, you shouldn’t allow your home’s mildew issue to go unaddressed, as it can develop into mold.

What To Do If You Find Mildew and Mold In Your Property?

Found Mold In Home

One of the major differences between mildew and mold is how to best handle their removal.

Getting Rid of Mildew

If you have found mildew in your home, you shouldn’t need professional services. You can purchase a quality mildew cleaner at a retail store. Or, you can make your own at home by mixing white distilled vinegar and baking soda. Apply whatever cleaner you choose to the mildewed areas of your home and scrub it in with a hard-bristled scrubbing brush. Mildew is very easy to clean up, so you should notice immediate results.

Getting Rid of Mold

If you have identified mold as the fungus that’s invading your home, you should leave its removal to the professionals. It’s a much more serious issue that an amateur should attempt to get rid of. Remediating your home of this fungus on your own can be dangerous to your health and ineffective in the long run.

Once you have recruited professional mold remediation services, you should implement preventative techniques. A professional can help you learn how to best do this, so you won’t require removal services in the future.

Call the Experts at All Dry USA!

Both mildew and mold can have aesthetic effects on your home and health consequences for you and your family members. Mold presents the additional threat of structural damage, so you must have it removed as efficiently as possible.

Call our experts at All Dry USA today to help you get rid of mold! We’ll efficiently address your buildup so you and your family can take back control of your home.

Ben Suiskind
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