The Main Differences Between Mold and Mildew

Mold and mildew are forms of fungi that share common attributes but also differ in a variety of ways. While both fungi grow in moist and humid areas, they could affect your health and home differently. Understanding the differences between mold and mildew can help you understand how to approach the problem. Read on to learn what divides mold from mildew: 

Where They Grow

Both mold and mildew can grow in moist areas in homes and outdoors. They require an organic food source, such as drywall, wood, plants, or dirt.

Mold can grow on any organic surface at a house. Given enough time, mold can cause substances to rust and destroy the structural components of a home. Mildew develops mostly on crops and may kill them or even be eliminated in time. Mildew is also the name of these plant diseases caused by parasitic fungi.


Mold is generally fuzzy or slimy, whereas mildew appears either powdery or downy. Downy mildew is yellow at first and turns to brown yellow in the future. Powdery mildew is white, and then turns yellow and black when it matures.

Mold appears as irregularly shaped spots that could have different colors — blue, yellow, green, brown, gray, black, or white. Mildew usually grows in a level pattern and looks like gray, white, or yellow stains that turn black or brown over time.

Exposure Symptoms

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


Some molds are valuable, for instance, Penicillium can be used to create antibiotics and can also be utilized in the production of cheese and kale. Mildew doesn’t have any known benefits.

Prevention and elimination

As mold and mildew thrive in humid environments, it is very important to keep your house dry to prevent expansion. Repair leaks, use a dehumidifier to keep humidity at 30-50% and ventilate appliances. Find out more mold prevention hints.

Removing mold and mildew yourself can be difficult and damaging to your health. For small infected areas — 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 larger than 10 square feet, the safest and most effective way to eliminate the mold is to telephone a mold remediation company. Learn why DIY mold removal isn’t 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 parts have touched the moldy surfaces and cut off any leaves which still have mold visible on them. Looking for water damage restoration near me? Check this out.

Among the many types of molds which can grow indoors, black mold is one of the most notorious. Learn about black mold removal. Contact your regional PuroClean office for mold remediation services, flood cleanup, and water damage repair. Click here to find out more.