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One of the questions we always get asked is “What’s the Difference Between Mold and Mildew?” and our restoration specialist with American Restoration Water & Fire has the answer! To begin, mold and mildew are common types of fungi that are found within the home. They thrive and survive in moist areas and once they are there they can be difficult to get rid of. But, how can you tell the difference between mold and mildew?

Mold is a fungus that contains several different types of identical nuclei and is most commonly identified because of its fuzzy or even slimy appearance, and occurs in irregular patterns and different colors. There are upwards of 10,000 different types of mold, but most molds found in the home are part of five different mold species.

  1. Alternaria: Grows on walls, near showers and windows, and often found in homes and buildings that have suffered from water damage. Alternaria appears as a wool-like texture and is often black grey or dark brown.
  2. Aspergillus: also known as the most common type of mold to be found indoors that can range from a wide spectrum of colors anywhere from grey, orange, brown, yellow, green, white, and black. This mold can grow on anything from your bathroom wall to your clothing and can cause allergic reactions and severe respiratory infections as well as infections.
  3. Cladosporium: This mold grows in cool dark places and usually appears on fabrics, like curtains and carpet, as well as wood surfaces like cabinet doors and floorboards.  This mold has two defining characteristic colors; black or olive-green.
  4. Penicillium: this mold can be found on various types of materials; clothing, wallpaper, insulation, and even mattresses. The spores of the Penicillium mold are spread easily and often cause allergic reactions.
  5. Stachybotrys chartarum:  most commonly referred to as “black mold”, is the most dangerous type of mold found in the home. Black mold causes severe allergic reactions, breathing problems, chronic and recurrent sinus problems, asthma attacks, as well depression, and fatigue. This mold grows in areas that are consistently damp and will omit a musty, pungent odor.

What about mildew?

Mildew grows in a flat pattern and unlike mold, it is consistent in texture and color, often looks like a powder. Mildew typically grows just on the surface and can be easily wiped off damp materials such as paper products, organic materials, and various fibrous materials. There are two types of mildew:

  1. Powdery Mildew:  this type of mildew is typically found on plants that first appear as white or grey in patchy patterns that will eventually turn yellow, brown, or black as it grows.
  2. Downy Mildew: this type of mildew is commonly found on agricultural products such as potatoes or grapes. Its appearance will vary as it continues to grow and often will appear yellow to black.

Preventing mold and mildew in the first place is a good place to start and you will save yourself a lot of money and the headache of trying to figure out how to get rid of it. American Restoration Water & Fire sees a lot of different types of mold and mildew, and our experienced team members are trained to quickly identify and take action to get rid of and prevent further growth. One of the biggest steps you can take to prevent mold and mildew growth is making sure that all areas of your home are dry. If you suspect mold or mildew growth, American Restoration Water & Fire can help in the disposal and future prevention of new growth.