Mold and mildew are often mistaken for each other, but they are actually produced by different types of fungi although both reproduce from spores. They both grow in the same moist and warm environments, however, mildew is more often found in showers, on paper and fabrics, while mold is found more often in foods and on various surfaces in homes, businesses, vehicles, boats and outdoors.
So What is the Difference Between Mold and Mildew?
Mildew tends to have a powdery or downy texture and most often appears as gray or white in color. The most common forms — forms that we’ve probably all seen at one time or another without realizing what we were looking at — appear on roses and flowering plants and look like a coating of flour, dust or even sugar. We’ve all probably seen downy mildew as well. If you’ve ever left a bag of grapes in the fridge and forgotten about them, that gray fuzzy or downy growth that appears on the grapes is mildew.
Mold, on the other hand, most often looks fuzzy or slimy and comes in greens, reds, blues, blacks and every color in between. Most molds thrive in damp, warm and humid conditions and can be found indoors and out all year around. Molds survives very well in marina areas on ropes, canvas, boats, and in any environment that can sustain it. Indoor molds are often found, but not limited to, bathrooms, basements, attics, closets, and any room with materials that have been exposed to moisture, water damage, or have poor air flow.
Preventing Mildew (and Mold)
The best way to prevent mildew and mold is to keep areas of your home as dry as possible. In moist climates, a dehumidifier is recommended to keep the level of humidity in your home between 30-60%. Ventilation is highly recommended in bathrooms and kitchens. Should you experience a plumbing or roof leak or flooding or storm damage, dry the area immediately and get rid of items that are unlikely to dry well. Drywall, once wet, is extremely difficult to dry out. Moisture gets trapped between the layers and is a prime area for mold and mildew to develop.