How to Identify Mold vs. Mildew
Let’s face it – nobody likes to live in dark and dank conditions, where both mold and
mildew abound. It is not only unhealthy for the inhabitants, but it also wreaks a
destructive path across the structure as well as the items within the home like food,
leather shoes and coats. Both mold and mildew are considered types of fungi and it will
help if you are able to tell the difference so that the proper and effective treatment can
be dispensed. Mildew is a type of mold, but the same does not apply in the opposite
direction as not all molds are mildew. A mold specialist is able to tell the difference
between the two, allowing special attention to be taken in a timely manner.
Having too much mildew around does result in health problems like difficulty in
breathing, excessive coughing, headaches and a sore throat. However, mildew is not as
toxic as mold. Living around moldy areas will more often than not result in sinus
infections, cases of pneumonia, allergic reactions, episodes of rashes or hives,
inflammation and pain in the joints, and in some extreme cases, changes in one’s
mental state that leads to bouts of depression and being absent minded.
A Simple DIY Test Reveals What You’re Dealing With
It is highly advisable that you are able to tell the difference between mold and mildew
before you apply any home-based treatment. The litmus test is rather simple and the
results can be known in a matter of minutes. All that you need to know is to dab a few
drops of household bleach on the suspected patch and wait. After a few minutes, should
the patch turn lighter, that would be mildew. Should the patch remain dark, chances are
this is mold that you are dealing with.
Another way to further back up the ‘test’ results would be to check both the color and
texture as detailed further below. Mold would often appear on food, and anything
organic that is left in the fridge for too long like vegetables and fruits. Mildew is often an
issue when it comes to damp surfaces such as bathroom walls, the basement, or
What is Mold?
More often than not, mold tends to look fuzzy and might even feel like the surface of a
soft toy when touched. Its appearance can be varied in colors, arriving in shades of
blue, green, yellow, brown, gray, black, or white.
Do not be frightened or alarmed by the number of mold species which are able to
survive indoors, numbering more than 10,000 according to the newest CDC estimates.
The majority of household molds that can be found tend to be one of the following five
Alternaria often appears in the home on walls, around the window sill, under sinks, in
showers and other damp places. Buildings that have undergone a degree of water
damage would have plenty of Alternaria presence, so flood-prone properties are a prime
candidate for this kind of mold. Alternaria mold is easily identified by its black, gray, or
dark brown color, where it feels wooly to the touch.
You can find Aspergillus almost anywhere indoors – as it arrives in shades of gray,
brown, yellow, green, white, or black. Aspergillus mold tends to make its home on walls,
insulation, paper products, and even clothing that has remained in a dark, damp
cupboard for a long time.
Cladosporium is different from other kinds of molds since it does thrive in cool spaces.
You will normally be able to find Cladosporium on certain kind of fabrics such as carpets
or curtains, while wood surfaces are also not exempted from Cladosporium colonizing it.
This makes cabinets and floorboards more susceptible to Cladosporium than other
kinds of furniture. You can easily tell that your cabinet is suffering from a case of
Cladosporium when it rears its ugly head in its signature black or olive-green color.
Penicillium makes its presence known on different kinds of items that have already
come into contact with water, and the ‘candidates’ are many. These include carpeting,
wallpaper, insulation, and also mattresses. The bluish green shade will often emit musty
odors that are offensive to the nose.
Stachybotrys chartarum is often known as “black mold” due to its characteristic color
and is the most dangerous of its kind. Touted to be the most dangerous of the lot, it
does produce toxic compounds which are factors in severe health issues like allergic
symptoms breaking out, breathing problems and asthma attacks, chronic sinus
infections, fatigue, and also depression. Prime areas for Stachybotrys chartarum growth
include leaky pipes, within air conditioning ducts, and other places that have
experienced water damage.
What is Mildew?
Mildew tends to grow in a flat pattern where it might look powdery in nature. Most of the
time, the powdery kind of mildew tends to negatively affect flowering plants, and it would
normally begin with a white or gray shade in splotches that do seem to develop a
pattern. Over the course of time, it will change its color to yellow, brown, or black as the
fungus begins to grow and assert its presence over the plant.
There is also another kind of mildew which is downy, where it has less of a color clash
personality since it normally begins with a shade of yellow before turning brown as time
progresses. Downy mildew is very common in agricultural products that have been left
in damp and dark conditions for too long, and grapes and potatoes would be the
common ‘victims’. The appearance of downy mildew will vary based on the surface
which it thrives on.
Before You Move In…
It is highly advisable that you obtain the professional help of a mold specialist to perform
a thorough inspection of any property that you are about to move in. It might incur more
cost in the process of purchasing or renting a home, but it is an investment that is well
worth every single penny in the long run. After all, professionals are able to comb
through the property in question from top to bottom, going through mold inspection
procedures and looking for any signs of water damage that could potentially give rise to
a serious case of mold and mildew. Call a specialist at Mold Remediation Charlotte
In the event that the mold specialist stumbles upon patches of mold and mildew, they
are well equipped and experienced to perform mold removal, making the place ready for
you to move in. Leaky plumbing will also be of no issue courtesy of the water damage
Should you decide to take the DIY route and clean the place up yourself, there is no
harm in obtaining professional advice as most mold specialists are more than happy to
drop by your place to provide a free consultation. Visit the location page, we service many areas including Baltimore MD