Published On:
January 8, 2024

Mould vs Mildew: How They Differ and Impact Your Home

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Mould and mildew are two common household problems that can cause damage to both the structure of your home and your health. Since they're both microscopic fungi types, they have shared characteristics that make them interchangeable to some, especially to untrained eyes. However, there are some key differences between mould and mildew.

In this article, we will explore what mould and mildew exactly are, how they form, the health problems they can cause, and most importantly, how to differentiate between the two.

Understanding Mould and Mildew Growth

To make effective comparisons between mould and mildew, it's important to understand concepts related to them, including their definitions, how they form, and the health issues associated with them.

What is Mould?

Mould is a type of fungus that thrives in damp, warm, and dark environments. It's made up of multicellular filaments that make it appear as a fuzzy, discoloured growth when seen by the unaided eye.

Mould usually grows on damp surfaces like shower walls and ceilings. It can also grow on furniture, especially those made of wood and other porous organic materials.

Mould reproduces by releasing tiny spores into the air, which can spread and cause further contamination. Common types of mould include black mould, green mould, and white mould.

What is Mildew?

Mildew refers to a type of mould that specifically affects plants and organic materials. It's a type of fungi with a flat growth habit. It's usually found on surfaces such as shower curtains, bathroom tiles, and fabrics. Mildew appears as powdery or downy spots that are typically white or grey.

How Mould and Mildew Form

Both mould and mildew require moisture and organic matter to grow. They thrive in areas with high humidity, poor ventilation, and moisture problems, such as leaks or condensation. Mould and mildew can develop within 24 to 48 hours of exposure to these conditions. This makes it crucial to address any unchecked moisture issues in your home promptly to prevent their growth.

Are There Health Problems Associated With Mould and Mildew Growth?

Both mould and mildew can have negative effects on your health, although mould is generally more harmful.

When mould spores are inhaled, they can cause respiratory problems, such as coughing, wheezing, and asthma attacks. Prolonged mold exposure can also lead to more severe health issues, including chronic sinusitis characterised by a runny nose and sneezing, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and opportunistic lung infections in individuals with compromised immunity.

Mildew and mildew spores, on the other hand, are less dangerous but can still trigger allergies and respiratory symptoms in sensitive individuals.

Similarities Between Mould and Mildew

While mould and mildew have their differences, they also share some similarities. Both mold and mildew thrive in moist environments and can cause damage to your home if left untreated. They can both spread rapidly, contaminating not only surfaces but also the air you breathe. Additionally, mould and mildew can both produce a musty smell, which can serve as a warning sign of their presence.

How to Differentiate Mildew and Mold Growth

Differentiating between mould and mildew is important to make the cleaning process more efficient and effective. You may do these by checking manually for physical attributes that are distinct to them or performing a DIY test with household bleach.

Check Physical Attributes

One way to differentiate between mildew and mould is to examine their physical attributes.

Mildew tends to have a powdery or downy texture, often appearing as white or grey spots. It can easily be wiped away with clean cloths or fresh sponges. Conversely, mould has a fuzzy or slimy texture and can appear in various colours, such as black, deep green, or even pink.

Unlike mildew, mould cannot be easily wiped away and requires more thorough removal methods like the use of household or commercial cleaning agents combined with rigorous dislodging using a scrub brush or contacting professional mould cleaning services in case of heavy infestation.

Perform DIY Test With Household Bleach

Another method to distinguish between mildew and mould is to conduct a simple DIY test using household bleach. This simple test can provide a quick and easy way to identify the type of growth in your home.

To perform this DIY test, apply a small amount of bleach to the affected area and observe the reaction. If the discolouration disappears within a few minutes, it is likely mildew. However, if the discolouration remains or the area only becomes lighter to an insignificant degree, it's more likely to be mould.

Tips On Removing Mold and Mildew

Once you have determined whether you are dealing with mould or mildew, it is important to take the necessary steps to remove it.

For mildew, a simple cleaning solution of water and detergent can often do the trick. Scrub the affected area with the solution using a brush or sponge, then rinse thoroughly.

For mould, stronger measures are usually required. Use a specialised mould cleaner or a mixture of bleach and water to kill the mould spores, and scrub the area thoroughly.

To prevent inhaling spores during the removal process, it's important to wear appropriate protective gear like gloves and a mask.

How to Prevent Mold and Mildew Growth

Preventing mould and mildew growth is essential to maintaining a healthy home environment. Here are some tips to help you prevent their formation:

When to Hire a Professional Mould Removal Service

While mildew can often be handled with DIY methods, mould growth can be more challenging to address. If you're dealing with a large or persistent mould problem, it's recommended that you seek professional help, preferably from Nimbus Homes.

A company like Nimbus Homes, which offers a professional mould removal service, has the expertise and equipment to remove mould from your home safely and effectively. We can also identify the root cause of mould growth and provide recommendations to prevent future outbreaks.

Final Words

Understanding the differences between mildew and mould is crucial for effectively addressing these common household problems. While mildew is generally less harmful and can be easily removed with household cleaners, mould requires more thorough removal methods and poses greater health risks.

By knowing how to differentiate between mildew and mould, you can take the necessary steps to prevent their growth and protect your home and health. Remember always to address moisture issues promptly and seek professional help when needed.

With proper prevention and action, you can keep your home free from the damaging effects of mould and mildew.