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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

The Difference Between Mold and Mildew

7/23/2018 (Permalink)

It only takes 24-48 hours for mold and mildew to begin growing on wet surfaces.

Many people mistake mold for mildew which is very common. While both pose an obvious hazard to your health, mold is known to be the most dangerous. Both spread very easily, and their breeding ground is a moist environment. Yet despite being so similar, each needs to be removed in its own special way to prevent serious damage. 

What's the Difference? 

Mold is a fungus that grows in black or green patches that sink into every nook and crevasse of the affected wet area. Removing mold typically involves cutting well around the affected area and safely removed. Mildew is best explained as a type of mild mold. It grows to be flat against the surface without penetrating the structure and can be easily scraped off if caught early. Just as it would with fruit that has been sitting out too long. You can also occasionally find mildew on other organic materials such as paper, damp drywall, and fabrics.

The Visual Contrast


  • Typically, gray or white (but will turn black or brown over time)
  • Powdery or fluffy appearance
  • Grows in flat, circular shape
  • Likes to grow on moist areas


  • Typically, black or green but can range to nearly any color
  • Fuzzy or slimy appearance
  • Irregularly shaped
  • Will cause the material beneath it to rot
  • Usually puts off a musty smell

Preventive Measures for Mold and Mildew

  • Fix plumbing issues/leaks as soon as possible
  • Clean the fabrics in your home periodically
  • Store items in a dry area
  • Use a dehumidifier, open a window, or turn on a fan to keep moisture to a minimum
  • Wash your bath mats

If you happen to find an affected area, give us a call at 281-412-6211.

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