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Mold and mildew, while not the same, have a lot of commonalities. Both are fungi, have similar visual characteristics, are drawn to moist spaces, and make for an unsightly mess in a person’s home. However, that’s where most of their likeness come to an end.
While the two can be difficult to tell apart, responding to these household culprits, and the damage they can cause, is an important lesson to learn.
Maybe one of the easiest ways to differentiate mold from mildew is by color. Mold tends to come in hues of brown, black, and green, whereas mildew is typically more gray or white. While that may seem an easy enough way to decide which is which, it’s not always so black and white–quite literally. Other colors come into play with both, including yellow, peach, purple, and blue. And if it that’s not confusing enough, the colors have the ability to transform over time, depending on how how long the conditions have been present.
While it’s not recommended that you make direct skin contact with mold or mildew (and if you do, wash with soap and water immediately), the texture helps to play an identifying role. Mold’s appearance can be described more as fuzzy or even slimy compared to mildew, which can appear more powdery or downy.
Where the spots form can also lend clues as to whether or not you’re dealing with mold or mildew. Mold is most common on rotten food, also known as the container of leftovers that’s been sneakily hiding out on the lower shelf of your refrigerator. That’s because mold grows on living sources, which would also include your home’s drywall paper and wood, making ceilings, window sills, and walls welcoming places. Mildew, on the other hand, is drawn to moisture, so your kitchen, bathroom, and possibly basement, are prime targets. Keep an eye out for spots that form in toilets, sinks, tubs, and showers, and on bathroom walls.
Both mold and mildew come with health-related problems, including respiratory issues, allergy symptoms, fatigue, and headaches. That’s why it’s best to address the cleaning and removal of both at first detection. While that can be done simply for mildew and common household mold, toxic mold, sometimes called “black toxic mold” is a matter for mold removal professionals. And since mold can be black in color regardless of toxicity, bringing in a professional early on will let you know what you’re up against and how best to address it.
To avoid unnecessary hazards to your health, mold remediation professionals recommend not disturbing mold spores without proper ventilation and containment, both services they can provide. Mildew, which is seen as less of a threat than mold, can be cleaned with over-the-counter products, or a one-to-one bleach/water solution. Be sure to always wear the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect yourself and your home from cross contamination.
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Keeping your home free of mold and mildew means a healthier environment for you and your family. The best way to avoid both is to eliminate excess moisture using dehumidifiers, exhaust fans, and air conditioners. If not humid or too cold outdoors, opening windows can increase circulation and improve airflow to dry out damp areas.
A&J Property Restoration, a mold remediation specialist in southern WI, who will walk you through the mold remediation process and provide you with an estimate, for homes and businesses around Madison, Middleton, Sun Prairie, Waunakee, Milwaukee, Brookfield, WI Dells, Fort Atkinson, Watertown, Oconomowoc, Waukesha, West Allis, and surrounding Dane County Wisconsin areas.