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Mold and Mildew: What's The Difference?

Mildew and mold are incredibly common, popping their unwanted selves into bathrooms, crawl spaces, and basements. But what is the difference between mold and mildew?

Mildew and mold are often referred to as if they are the same. Both are unwelcome, but one is typically harder to kick than the other. You might be familiar with these two fungi types since both can grow underneath your homes in crawl spaces and around the bathroom walls.

So what are mold and mildew?


Although the terminology can be confusing, Mildew refers to certain kinds of mold or fungus. The term mildew is often used generically to refer to mold growth, usually with a flat growth habit. Mildew often lives on shower walls, windowsills, and other places where moisture levels are high.


Molds include all species of microscopic fungi that grow in the form of multicellular filaments, called hyphae. Molds can thrive on any organic matter, including clothing, leather, paper, and the ceilings, walls and floors of homes with moisture management problems.

So why does it matter?

The key difference between mold and mildew is how they are eliminated. Mildew can be removed easily with household cleaners and a scrub brush. For molds, the process for removing them will vary depending on their nature.

Not all mildew or mold should be treated in the same way, but it is important that both are eliminated quickly so your home remains safe. While bleach or other similar cleaning products can effectively remove many mold or mildew varieties, there are a few that can be harmful to your health so you’ll need to wear a mask or any protective gear when you work on getting rid of them. Additionally, some mold types such as the black mold, are best removed by mold specialists like Refined Restoration.


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