13 May

What’s That Smell? Difference Between Mildew and Mold

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There’s no denying when you walk into a room and smell that something is off. However, it can be more difficult to put your finger on the source of the odor. Is it musty or moldy?

This is an important question to answer because mildew (which usually gives off that musty smell) and mold need to be handled very differently. Both are types of fungus that spread through spores. Both thrive in moist conditions. Yet mildew can be easily cleaned and mostly harmless, while mold can be a major health risk and require professional cleaning.

Difference Between Mildew and Mold

How to tell if it’s mildew or mold

Mildew and mold are often found in damp rooms such as bathrooms, kitchens, and basements (although they can grow just about anywhere, which will cover later). So if you see a spot of something, here there are a few ways you can determine whether its mildew or mold.

  • Color – Mildew tends to be white, grey, or sometimes light brown. Mold is usually darker – black, green, or red.
  • Smell – Mildew can be described as having a “musty” smell. While the odor of mold is stronger and more repulsive.
  • Appearance – Mildew typically looks fluffy or powdery. On the other hand, mold can look fuzzy or slimy.

Dangers of mold

Breathing in mold can cause a wide range of health issues, including respiratory illnesses, asthma, allergies, headaches, skin irritation, and more. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your medical professional.

In addition to the health risks, mold spores can grow beneath the surface of objects, which can ruin personal items or damage walls, flooring, furniture, or other items in your home.

Common causes of mold in homes

Mold spores need moisture in order to grow. So if you suspect mold in your home, look for any of the following:

  • Leaky pipes (especially ones concealed behind walls or in basements)
  • Leaking roof, including improperly installed flashing
  • Condensation around windows
  • Standing water or spills
  • Wet items laying around such as towels, clothes, or shoes
  • Air conditioning and refrigerator condensation drips

Removing and preventing mold

If it’s anything more than a small spot of mold, you may be better off bringing in a professional mold remediation service. They will have the proper cleaning and personal protection to effectively and safely get rid of the infestation. In order to prevent it from coming back, you also need to take care of the water problem. A professional plumber can identify and fix any leaking pipes, or recommending proper ventilation methods.

HVAC service in Fredericksburg

Your heating, venting, and air conditioning systems are all important in the battle against moisture, mildew, and mold. Whether it’s for a comprehensive indoor air quality assessment or air purification system installation, Robert B. Payne, Inc. is here to help make your home as healthy and comfortable as possible. To schedule an appointment, send us a message or call (540) 373-5876.