How to Identify Mold vs. Mildew in Your Home

Mold and mildew are all types of fungi that share common features but also differ in a variety of ways. While both fungi grow in moist and humid areas, they can influence your health and house otherwise. Knowing the differences between mold and mildew can help you understand how to approach the issue. Read on to learn what divides mold from the mildew: 

Where They Grow

Both mold and mildew can grow in damp areas in houses and outdoors. They need an organic food source, such as drywall, wood, plants, or soil.

Mold can grow on almost any organic surface in a home. Given enough time, mold may cause materials to rust and destroy the structural components of a home. Mildew grows mostly on crops and may kill them or even be removed in time. Mildew is also the title of these plant diseases brought on by parasitic fungi.


Mold is usually fuzzy or slimy, whereas mildew appears either powdery or downy. Downy mildew is yellow initially and turns to brownish yellow in the future. Powdery mildew is white, and then turns yellow and black when it evolves.

Mold looks like irregularly shaped spots that can have distinct colors — blue, yellow, green, brown, grey, white, or black. Mildew usually grows in a flat pattern and looks like gray, white, or yellow patches that turn black or brown over time.

Exposure Symptoms

Mold exposure can lead to several health issues including allergic reactions (coughing, itchy eyes, runny nose, coughing, wheezing, irritation of the throat, migraines, etc.), respiratory problems (difficulty breathing, coughing, asthma attacks), heart problems, migraines, depression, and much more. Mildew vulnerability poses fewer health risks — coughing, headache, sore throat, and respiratory problems.


Some molds are beneficial, for instance, Penicillium is used to create antibiotics and can also be utilized in the production of cheese and tofu. Mildew does not have any known benefits.

Prevention and Removal

As mold and mildew thrive in humid environments, it’s important to maintain your property dry to prevent growth. Repair leaks, use a dehumidifier to keep humidity at 30-50% and ventilate appliances. Learn more mold prevention tips.

Removing mold and mold yourself may be difficult and damaging to your health. For small infected areas — significantly less than 10 square feet — on surfaces such as walls, scrub the mold with a mixture of household water and detergent. When the affected area is bigger than 10 square feet, the safest and most efficient means to eliminate the mold is to call a mold remediation business. Learn why DIY mold removal is not a fantastic idea.

Mildew on crops can be removed by wiping the leaves lightly with a dampened paper towel. After each wipe, freshen the paper towel. Replace the paper towel when all components have touched the moldy surfaces and cut off some leaves which still have mold visible on them.

One of the many types of molds which can grow indoors, black mold is among the most notorious. Learn about black mold removal. Speak to your regional PuroClean Georgetown office for mold remediation services and water remediation. Check out this website for more information.