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The Difference Between Mould and Mildew

Published on May 04, 2021

During mold removal in Toronto, we often find patches of what concerned homeowners identify as mildew, a term that is often used generally to refer to flat mold growth habits. In reality, all mildew is mold — mildew just refers to a certain type of mold growth. Mold testing in Toronto can help identify these microscopic fungi that thrive on any kind of organic material, such as paper, ceilings, walls, textiles, and leather. Mildew is found in areas where there is a lot of moisture, such as the shower or windowsills — but so is mold, so what are the differences?

What is the Difference in Appearance?

There are some differences in appearance that can help you identify whether you have mold growth or mildew growth. Mold can grow flat, textured, and in many colours, while mildew tends to remain flat. Mildew appears most often in spaces like the bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room where there is lots of moisture present and prefers to grows on textiles, plants, papers, and other soft organic materials. 

Common Types of Mildew

At MoldTech, we most commonly see two types of mildew: downy and powdery. Powdery mildew often begins as white or grey splotches that grow across a surface, whereas Downy mildew’s appearance may vary, such as starting yellow and then turning brown. 

Common Types of Mold

In contrast, many different types of mold can be found in your home. Here are five common species found during mold testing in Toronto:

  1. Aspergillus. Commonly found on water-damaged building materials. 
  2. Chaetomium. Wood and cellulose products (like cardboard and paper) are commonly affected. 
  3. Mucor. It multiplies and is frequently discovered during indoor air testing. 
  4. Stachybotrys Chartarum. AKA toxic black mold, it produces dangerously toxic spores. 
  5. Trichoderma. Highly allergenic, this mold thrives in moist conditions. 

The Difference in the Effects of Mold and Mildew

It’s not just in appearance that mold and mildew differ — it’s also in what they do to your home. While both cause allergenic reactions that can affect your skin, eyes, nose, and respiratory system, mildew is generally the lesser of two evils. This is because it has a more limited range than mold growth and tends to affect only the surface of things. Certain types of mold - Trichoderma, for instance - contain enzymes that actively break down materials and can cause severe structural damage on top of health issues. 

Mold and Mildew Removal in Toronto

Regardless of whether you have mold or mildew, a safe, professional mold remediation is your best response. Both types of fungus can spread quickly and are difficult to remove in their entirety without the knowledge, tools, and cleaners that the MoldTech team brings to every job. From testing to remediation, we’ll identify the scope of any mold problems and help you understand the cause and appropriate response to any issue — all while making mold removal in Toronto as easy as possible. Please write or call us to learn more about mold and mildew prevention and removal.

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