Mildew vs Mold – What’s the difference?

mildew vs mold

Mold vs Mildew: Do you know the difference?

To most people, they’re both just fungi growing in their home or business that they want to remove immediately! While immediate removal is certainly the best idea, we thought we would share their differences! The two are very similar fungi, but also very different – from appearance to health hazards, we’ll explain the major differences between the two. You’ll be able to identify mold vs mildew in no time!


Mold is a fungi that is fuzzy in appearance and can be a variety of colors – blue, green, yellow, brown, gray, or black. Some mold may even be described as hairy. Mold often appears to be a darker, deeper color.

Not only can mold cause damage to your home or business, but you can also develop severe health problems as a result of mold growth. Extremely dangerous toxins can begin to develop, resulting in black mold. Black mold will result in extreme health complications for you, your family, coworkers, tenants, patients, etc. Symptoms that can occur from mold growing in your surroundings are the following:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Migraines
  • Sinus infection
  • Pneumonia
  • Allergic reaction
  • Rashes or hives
  • Inflammation
  • Extreme fatigue


Mildew is also a fungus, but it grows in a flat pattern and may appear to be powdery. It can start by looking white, grey, or yellow, and later turn black or brown. Another indication is a musty smell in the air.

Damage from it can occur on paper, leather, fabrics, and walls, and will also affect your health. Fortunately, the health risks are minor compared to the health risks that accompany mold. If you’re in the presence of it, these are some common symptoms that may affect you or those around you:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Headaches

Mold and Mildew Prevention

Both fungi thrive in moist conditions, therefore the best thing you can do to prevent growth is to keep your home or facility dry and moisture-free. If your building has a humidifier, check the humidity level and take action to control it – high levels of humidity result in the potential growth of fungi. You can also control humidity levels with a dehumidifier, which will remove excess moisture from the air.

Check your bathroom, kitchen, or other areas for leaks. If you have a leaky pipe, it will cause excess moisture to collect, which is a great source for growth. Don’t forget about your windows, either! Inspect your windows to ensure they are sealed properly and do not allow water to seep in.

Mold and Mildew Removal

When cleaning/removing mold or mildew from your home or business, we recommend contacting a professional. Oftentimes residents will use a bleach solution to remove the fungi. While bleach will kill the fungi, it will only kill the surface layer of the fungi. It can grow on many surfaces, but it will more commonly develop deep inside a porous surface. Therefore, in order to kill all of the fungi you would need to ensure the bleach solution reaches the deepest part of the porous material. Even then, a spot can be missed resulting in the fungi growing back stronger and faster, making it more difficult to manage.

For more information about mold removal, click here.

It’s never easy to determine mold vs mildew, but we are always here to help as a resource if you need us!

About Woodard Cleaning & Restoration

Woodard Cleaning & Restoration was founded in 1946 by Earl and Nancy Woodard. Located in St. Louis, Missouri, Woodard services the greater metro area (Illinois, St. Charles County, Jefferson County, St. Louis County, and many more). Woodard is proud to serve as the preferred provider for cleaning & restoration services. Our cleaning services include carpet, hard surface, furniture, and rug cleaning for both residential and commercial properties. We also provide water, fire, board-up, storm and smoke restoration services for residential and commercial clients. For information or questions submit a form online or call us at 314-227-3932.

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Updated 04/24/2020