Understanding the difference between mold and mildew growth

What Is the Difference Between Mold and Mildew?

When people are talking about mold and mildew, they may not understand the differences between the two. However, that may also be because of how much they have in common. In reality, mildew is similar to mold, and both organisms thrive in moist environments.

Even though they have many, they have many differences. To learn more about the differences between mold and mildew, continue reading below.

Understanding the difference between mold and mildew growth

Mildew Looks Like Powder, While Mold Looks Fuzzy

Both types have different looks, which is handy when people want to figure out which one they’re dealing with. Mildew usually has a gray or white and sometimes powdery look to it. Also, it is always flat. However, mold will often be raised, whether red, green, black, or blue.

Mildew Will Grow on the Surface, While Mold Burrows 

People can find mold and mildew on paper, wood, or leather. Both organisms can be found in a moist environment in the home. Mildew can usually be found on windowsills and shower stalls because of the humidity levels that tend to reach those areas. Also, since it is generally found on the surface, it is easy to spot and clean.

However, mold is different because it will burrow itself into the surface of the area. This makes removing mold from any area harder because it will be in the wood under the floorboards.

Mildew Will Cause Some Health Problems, but Mold Is Worse

There are health risks involved, whether it is mildew or mold, but there are usually more severe health risks where mold is a concern, especially black mold. People can have mild problems like a sore throat, headaches, and minor respiratory problems when there is mildew.

However, when there is mold, then it is a different story. Mold can cause headaches, depression, memory loss, and mood changes. Also, mold can irritate the eyes and the skin, respiratory illnesses, congestion, and other problems. Since they both will cause a person health problems, it is best to eliminate them as soon as they are found.

Mildew Can Be Removed with Household Products, but Mold Is More Challenging

Mildew can easily be removed with household cleaning supplies, making it a quick problem to solve. However, if there is mold, the person will have a more challenging time getting rid of it. This is because it will need to be determined where the mold is coming from, how far it has spread, and what kind of mold it is.

Sometimes, bleach or other specialized cleaning products can be used to get rid of some types of molds, but the person will need to wear gloves and goggles. However, if the mold is more severe, a professional must be called.


Mold and mildew have a lot of similarities, but there are also a lot of differences. If a person finds mold or mildew in their house, they should identify what it is so they can make the right plan to try and tackle it. However, if someone does not know what it is, they should call a mold remediation professional because it is better to be safe than sorry.

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