Mold & Mildew: What’s The Difference?
Mold and mildew, types of fungi, grow indoors and outdoors. With that said, it can be extremely difficult to differentiate between the two because they share the same characteristics. Both can appear in various colors but mildew most often takes on a whitish, grayish color. Mold, on the other hand, most commonly has a green or black tone. The ideal environment for mold and mildew growth is damp and dark, such as attics and basements.
Mold forms as a multilayer, multicellular hyphae or filament. Mildew, on the other hand, has a flat form. Even with those descriptions, many people struggle to differentiate between the two. In fact, most people refer to mildew as a type of mold. The only genuine way to differentiate between mold and mildew is through scientific testing. Mold tests are available over-the-counter for an affordable fee. A licensed mold contractor can also perform the test but the sample must be sent to a laboratory. It can take anywhere from five to 14 days or longer to receive the results.
The major differences in mold and mildew are their characteristics. As mentioned above, both fungi can take on varying colors. For example, mold can take on a purple, pink, brown, black, orange, and green color while Mildew typically has a yellow color in the early stages of growth. The yellow coloring will brighten as the mildew grown and eventually turn brown or black.
If you look at mold close up, you will see that it has a fuzzy-like covering. Mildew does not share that characteristic but it will sometimes be white with yellow spots that turn brown then black.
Mold has reproductive spores that are either asexual or sexual. For survival, mold feeds on organic matter that breaks down into energy. Mold spores are highly dangerous when they become airborne. They can be inhaled into the human respiratory system, resulting in long-term health problems. Mold is generally not visible to the naked eye until it grows into colonies. When mold is growing indoors or outdoors, it will generate a musty odor that is very noticeable.
Mildew will grow on any type of living and inanimate objects. It can be found on vegetables, fruits, rice, and beans. It will also grow on inanimate objects, such as paper, leather and cloth fabrics, vinyl shower curtains, window sills, ceilings, and walls, Mildew has reproductive sports that are either asexual or sexual.
Effects Of Long-Term Mold And Mildew Exposure
Short-term exposure to mold and mildew will generally not lead to severe health problems. Long-term exposure to mildew and mold will lead to respiratory conditions, such as asthma. When the spores of mold are inhaled into the respiratory tract, the onset of symptoms will appear almost instantaneously. Those systems include coughing, sneezing, and shortness of breath.
When mildew grows on living things, such as produce, it will cause permanent damage. When mildew spores are inhaled into the respiratory tract it will lead to various symptoms, including cough, itchy throat, sneezing, and headaches.
Mold and mildew spores will continue to grow in the respiratory tract, leading to chronic respiratory conditions and other serious health problems.