The Difference Between Mold and Mildew

Brad LackeyWater Damage


The terms mold and mildew are frequently used interchangeably. Sometimes people refer to mold related smells as ‘mildew’ and the substance itself as ‘mold’.

Outside of these colloquial habits, however, there is a scientific difference between the two.

Put simply, both mold and mildew are different types of fungus.

Mildew is lighter in color, appearing as a white or light-yellow colored growth. Mold, on the other hand, is often a darker green or even black.

this is what mildew looks like

This is what mildew looks like. Sometimes the difference between mildew and mold is subtle, but note the lighter color and thinner layer of mildew.

Mildew also tends to be thinner and easier cleaned away, appearing as a thin film on shower curtains, puddles of water, and windows. It’s also common on plant leaves.

Mold, however, grows thicker, causing damage to ceilings, walls, basement subfloors, and other surfaces.

Mold and Mildew | Which is a Bigger Problem?

Mildew is certainly the lesser of the two evils here. The word ‘mild’ is even in its name!

Thin layers of mildew can be sprayed with a vinegar solution or bleach solution and be largely handled yourself.

However, the conditions that encourage mildew (such as high levels of moisture from a basement flood or other type of water damage), also accelerate mold growth.

Because mold (the darker stuff) eats away at surfaces, quickly spreads, and its potential to cause respiratory problems in occupants of the home, it must be dealt with by more serious measures.

this mold is darker than mildew

This mold is darker than mildew.

It’s a good idea to contact a mold remediation professional if you see dark green, or black substances after a flood in the basement.

Of course, even if you only see or smell mildew in your basement, it’s important to consider that mold be present elsewhere. It can hide behind walls and beneath flooring, and continue to grow if a professional mold specialist doesn’t catch it.

Contact Us for Basement Mold Removal or Home Remediation

ServiceMaster by Restoration Contractors provides mold abatement services in Fort Wayne, IN and throughout Indiana in nearby communities.

We are available 24/7 to respond to not only flood cleanup emergencies but will also take care of any mold remediation that is often necessary after water damage.

Call us at (260) 420-1502 today if you have discovered mold or mildew on your property.