Mold vs. Mildew: What is the Difference?

Mold and mildews thrive in damp conditions. They also live on different surfaces and spread fast. All these factors make them difficult to remove. If you leave them unattended, they will affect large parts of your house in no time.

Also, mold and mildew are eligible for some serious human health risks.

These harmful organisms have many common features. However, they’re different types of fungi and pose different threats. Most importantly, they react to different treatments. To establish the efficiency of treating it, it’s good to identify the difference between mold vs. mildew.

Difference between Mold and Mildew

The easiest way to tell the difference is the appearance of mold and mildew. Mold refers to a type of fungus that can be seen as black, green, white, or even orange that penetrates beneath the affected surface. And, mildew is described as a certain type of fungus. It appears as yellow, gray, or white with a powdery or fluffy texture.

However, there’s a bit more about them to extend!

What is Mold and its Effects?

These organisms can thrive on both outdoor and indoor wet surfaces. You’ll find it growing on food (meat, bread, cheese, etc.) and inside permanent structures like stucco walls, sheds, baseboards, boat surfaces, etc. Its texture can either be slimy or fuzzy!


Mold has some impacts on the surface it grows. They can be the source of odorous VOCs in the environment. Also, high relative humidity in a damp building increases the number of dust mites. These dust mites produce house allergens. Similar to most fungi, molds break down animal and plant matter in the environment.

They can grow in any damp place with organic materials. As such, you can find them on foods, in soil, or in people’s homes. They reproduce by releasing spores which are spread through water, air, or on animals. In an indoor environment, they grow on various building materials and surfaces. You’ll find them on wood, walls, trims, and personal items in buildings. Over time, they will affect the surface finishes, both in performance and appearance. Also, they’ll affect the structural integrity of your house.

When a surface is damp for a long time, mold usually colonizes its materials. Afterward, it creates microscopic airborne particles. Some particles may contain chemicals or allergens that can induce respiratory systems inflammation. So, it can cause diseases in the long run. Some of those include – allergies, rash, sneezing, depression, and skin irritation among others. That should be the very first concern of getting rid of mold and mildew.


What is Mildew and its Effects?

Unlike mold, mildew doesn’t penetrate the surface as it grows. Instead, it remains on top of the surface, making it easy to get rid of. It grows on damp or moist surfaces and different organic materials around your house. Like mold, it might also be seen on food items. Besides, you’ll find them on wet items such as leather, fabric or paper. They also can be found growing on porous and non-porous surfaces like shower, kitchen, floors, ceiling or, walls. The only condition they maintain is that the surface area should be humid.


Mildew is primarily a plant disease that causes damage to plants and crops. They appear as an unattractive discoloration on the surface finish, thus making the appearance undesirable. Their growth affects the finish performance on a coated surface. It affects the application of a new coating to an affected surface. If you apply an ideal finish to an affected surface, its adhesion will not be good. Besides, their presence can have a destructive impact on cracking, dirt, and adhesion properties. Once you inhale its spores, you can experience various respiratory problems. The most common ones are; headaches, coughing, and sore throat. Besides, mildew and dampness produce an unpleasant odor, thus affecting the air quality.


1. What are signs of mold & mildew in your house?

Answer: The most common sign is the musty smell from the dirty surface. Water damage is another popular sign of mildew buildup since they grow near damp or humid areas. Molds are also visible on humid areas like floors, furniture, ceilings, and exterior stucco siding and walls among others.

2. What does black mold smell like?

Answer: Black mold has a strong musty, earthy smell that resembles rotting leaves and dirt.

3. What is mold allergy?

Answer: It is an allergic reaction that occurs when sensitive people inhale the spores.

Note – This compact information is in-depth internet research based. We try to help you sort out the difficulties by putting it up all together. We certainly acknowledge the validity and authenticity of the information. Subject matter experts are highly welcome for their valuable suggestions.

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