What Is The Difference Between Mold And Mildew? Are They The Same?

What Is The Difference Between Mold And Mildew? Are They The Same?

Key takeaways:

  • Mold and mildew are fungi that may quickly spread and cause damage to property or health concerns.
  • They have different appearances, smells, preferred temperatures, and effects.
  • Removal differs depending on the type of mold/mildew. Some require common household cleaning chemicals, while others necessitate a specialist.
  • The most effective strategy to keep mold and mildew at bay is maintaining cleanliness and dryness throughout the house with good air circulation.

Mold and mildew are fungi no homeowner likes to find in their home. These germs may quickly spread, causing cosmetic and structural damage to your property and possibly major health concerns.

Mold and mildew begin as tiny spores (seeds) that require similar conditions to establish and thrive, making them easily confused. However, several significant distinctions in appearance, health concerns, and severity must be understood to treat and avoid their emergence in your house. Let’s take a closer look.

Mold and Mildew

Both mildew and mold are fungi. Fungi do not belong to animal or plant kingdoms; they live in their realm. Fungi produce spores and feed on organic materials, such as yeasts, rusts, smuts, mushrooms, etc. They develop by utilizing filaments or hyphae to form their bodies (mycelia). They consume organic stuff on the outside before absorbing nutrients.

Mold vs. Mildew: The Difference


Mold often appears black or green, whereas mildew appears gray or white. However, there are some additional details in the fungi look.

  • Mildew develops in a flat pattern and might seem powdery or fluffy. It is easily recognized as a patch of white, yellowish, or gray fungus on the surface of a damp region. Mildew eventually becomes black or brown.
  • Mold has a fuzzy or slimy look. It appears as irregularly shaped dots of varying shades, including blue, green, yellow, brown, gray, black, and white. Surfaces that are coated in mold frequently begin to decay.


The smell is another method to tell the difference. Mildew has a softer, musty odor that some equate to wet socks, whereas mold has a harsher, more pungent odor. Black mold has a more potent stench because it releases microbial volatile organic compounds as it develops (MVOCs).


Temperature also plays a role, with mildew commonly replicating at temperatures ranging from 77 to 88 degrees. Mildew is a surface fungus; therefore, it is simple to detect in damp regions and does little harm. Mold, however, is more insidious and crawls beneath the surface, making it more difficult to remove.


Mold and mildew may both develop fast in warm, damp environments. Mildew is commonly found on moist surfaces, with cloth, paper, and leather being common home goods that may develop mildew after being wet. Mildew can also be seen on the floors, walls, and ceilings of high-humidity areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. While mildew may form on the surface of crops such as potatoes or grapes, mold is more commonly seen on food such as cheese, bread, or meat.


Mold and mildew have diverse consequences on the surfaces on which they develop as well as on the people who reside nearby.

  • Mildew, for example, can be harmful to the food it grows on, but it seldom causes long-term damage to other surfaces, such as tile floors or bathroom mirrors. However, if it grows inside, it might be hazardous to one’s health. Anyone who inhales mildew spores may experience coughing, headaches, or difficulty breathing.
  • Mold is a very different story. It is not only slimy and unappealing, but it may also cause significant structural damage. Moldy hardwood flooring can bend and deform. If the foundation is exposed, mold may leak beneath the flooring and ruin furniture, carpets, and other surfaces. Homes with severe infestations may need to have whole walls or roofs replaced. Mold may grow unchecked in the basement for months or years before spreading to other areas. Not to add that poisonous black mold might induce significant responses when exposed. This type secretes mycotoxins, which conduct relentless warfare on your body, infiltrating your skin, nose, and mouth and settling in your lungs, stomach, and other regions. It can result in memory loss, hearing loss, and cognitive failure under challenging situations.


There is a big difference between the process of removing mold and mildew.

  • Mildew on surfaces may be removed using common household cleaning chemicals and a scrubbing brush.
  • However, after a fungus has been identified as mold, it is critical to determine what mold it is since the technique for eliminating it differs depending on the type. Some molds can be eradicated using bleach or specialist cleaning chemicals while wearing safety equipment such as masks and goggles. Others, such as black mold, necessitate the assistance of a mold removal specialist.

Mold and Mildew Prevention

The most effective strategy to keep mold and mildew at bay in your house is to:

  • Keep all areas dry and free of moisture.
  • Maintain an indoor humidity level of 40-50% (a dehumidifier is the most cost-effective solution for ensuring appropriate indoor humidity.
  • Have your heating and cooling systems inspected regularly
  • Maintain the cleanliness and condition of the air ducts
  • Provide good air circulation throughout the premises
  • Repair any leaks in the bathroom, kitchen, or other areas, and so on.
  • To avoid mildew infestation, remove any mildew-affected plants, brushes, or weeds as soon as you see them.

Ending Note:

Mold excels at hiding in difficult-to-find places such as drywall and insulation. If the mold area is more than 10 square feet, there is a significant possibility that the mold problem is not isolated. When you detect a musty odor in your house that you can’t define or have health concerns related to mold or mildew, it’s time to bring in the pros.

G2 Restoration is the best mold cleanup and restoration firm in Sherman. Our licensed technicians have years of mold cleanup and restoration experience. We use best practices and cutting-edge equipment to restore your home or commercial property to normal as soon as possible. Get a free evaluation today!

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