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Mold Vs Mildew Differences Comparison Featured Image

Mold vs. Mildew: What’s the Difference?

Simply put, mildew is mold in its’ early stages. Since they are fungi they will thrive anywhere in a warm and moist environment. Outdoors, one of their official jobs is to break down leaves in order to enrich earths’ soil. Indoors, however, they are not welcomed when they are found in homes that have been victims of water damage. Mold and mildew are similar in some ways but in other ways they are very different. Below are some of the unique characteristics of mold and mildew.

Black Mold: Stachybotrys chartarum. Even the name sounds threatening. Black mold is a fungus that produces spores also known as slime heads. These spores float in the air and fall into damp, warm and humid surfaces, slowly spreading over time.

The spores are commonly found in leaky roofs, windows, pipes, or areas of flooding in water damaged homes. Mold can grow anywhere with high humidity levels, such as showers, laundry rooms, basements and crawl spaces.

Black mold is usually darker in shades of black, green, brown, and yellow and form into a circular shape. It may also start to become fuzzy which usually means the mold is preparing to reproduce.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), mold can have side effects on those with sensitivities such as a stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes and skin. Those who have asthma or allergies or those with a weakened immune system can have more severe reactions.


Mildew is usually flat and white in color but it can also turn brown, yellow, or grey, while black mold is dark and fuzzy.

Similar to black mold, mildew also forms from humidity and moisture. For example, during the winter months if the inside of a house is warm due to central heating and the windows are closed, mildew can begin to grow. As it gets warmer mildew then begins to spread. It can be found on wood, clothing, organic matter, walls, ceilings or even wallpaper. Sometimes, mildew may leave a bad smell in places like basements or other dark areas.

Like black mold, those with a weaker immune system may experience irritations such as sneezing, runny nose or irritation to the eyes, nose, throat and skin. Those with allergies or asthma can experience even worse side effects from mildew. These can happen immediately or can develop overtime. Even those without allergies may experience negative effects to their lungs.

We can help!

Research shows that the effects from black mold can be more severe than mildew. The CDC reports that no color or type of mold belongs in a building. Period!  Mold and mildew are unhealthy and stubborn to get rid of.  You will need the help of the professionals at Water Extraction Experts. Our certified technicians use the most advanced technology in water damage mitigation and mold remediation to quickly get your home and your life back to normal again.

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