The words “fuzzy” and “cute” do not always go together.

Particularly when a peculiar patch of fuzzy growth is slowly crawling its way across your ceiling or wallpaper, you’re more likely to reach for the word “problem” before describing it as anything else.

The only other clarification you need, then, is whether the growth is mold or mildew.

But what exactly is the difference between the two? And, in either case, what should you do next?

The Monster That Is Mold

Sprawling out wherever a home or commercial property has been subject to moisture intrusion or flooding, mold is a type of fungal growth that ranges in both color and texture.

Additionally, as it is capable of inducing sickness by way of its mycotoxin byproducts, mold is widely recognized as a health hazard that necessitates immediate action when discovered.

“Sufficient epidemiological evidence is available from studies … to show that the occupants of damp or [moldy] buildings, both houses, and public buildings, are at increased risk of respiratory symptoms, respiratory infections, and exacerbation of asthma,” the World Health Organization (WHO) explains.

Unfortunately, mold is more resilient and capable of growing on a variety of surfaces in comparison to mildew.

Mastering Mildew Management

Referred to as “mold in an early stage” by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), mildew grows primarily on softer and/or organic-based surfaces.

Specifically, this may include:

  • Dead leaves
  • Decaying food
  • Wood 
  • Ceiling tiles
  • Cardboard
  • And more

While mold is far more varied in its appearance and fungal structure, mildew is more easily identified as one of two variations:

  • The first variation is that of “powdery mildew,” or mildew that appears soft and, well, powdery in appearance. It first grows in shades of gray and white, albeit it will often darken to black, brown, or even yellow over time.
  • The second variation is “downy mildew,” which emerges in yellow spots of soft fungus. Similar to powdery mildew, it will darken to a brown hue over time, albeit this one is more likely to proliferate on food.

Finally, as mildew is a precursor to full mold growth, it may also induce respiratory symptoms, albeit they tend to be less severe in nature in comparison to mold.

Don’t Face Defeat, Just Call Discreet

To put it simply, when all is said and done, mold and mildew are two sides of the same damp coin that exhibit more similarities than they do differences.

“Molds and mildew are fungi that grow on the surfaces of objects, within pores, and in deteriorated materials,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “They can cause discoloration and odor problems, deteriorate building materials, and lead to allergic reactions in susceptible individuals, as well as other health problems.”

And another thing they have in common? They may be growing for prolonged periods of time before you realize they’re even present.

Thankfully, Discreet Air Quality offers mold and moisture assessments in addition to a variety of other indoor environmental detection services! Designed to help provide you with answers, clarity, and peace of mind, our comprehensive investigations leave no room for details to fall through the crack.

To learn more about how we can help you move toward a future of optimized indoor air quality, contact us today by calling 754-702-7019!