Mold vs Mildew

Although both are a type of fungus that love warm, damp areas, many don’t know the differences between mold and mildew. They do have one striking quality in common however: homeowners don’t want to see either in their home. So, what sets mold and mildew apart from each other?


If you find mold in your home, there could be more damage than you think. Because mold burrows into the surface of where it is growing, it is harder to get rid of. It particularly loves organic materials like cotton clothing or bedding, leather, wood, and paper. Mold in your home will appear raised and fuzzy, like it is growing out of the surface. It can also come in many colors including green, red, blue, or even black. Because of the way it grows, mold will have a pungent smell.


Unlike mold, mildew is a surface fungus. This means it isn’t permeating whatever surface it is growing on. Mildew is often gray or white in its early stages and will have a powdery, dry appearance. It will also look flat instead of standing out from the surface of wherever it is growing. Mildew will also have a different smell than mold. It will have a milder musty smell that some compare to damp socks. Mildew also thrives in humidity more so than mold.

What to do if you find them in your home

Because mildew only grows on the surface, it is relatively easy to get rid of. There are a variety of cleaning products you can get from your local hardware store that are specifically for getting rid of mildew. Simply clean the surface where the mildew has grown with the cleaner and a scrub brush. To make sure mildew doesn’t grow again, you’ll need to fix the source of excess moisture, whether this is a leaky pipe or a poorly ventilated bathroom.

If you find mold in your home, this can be a sign of a much larger issue. If you home recently experienced water damage of any kind, for example a burst pipe or flooded basement, there is a chance mold is already growing in your walls or behind appliances. If you find mold in your home, your first step is to call in the professionals. You may think you can remove the mold yourself, but because mold permeates the surface it grows on, it can be much more difficult to remove than mildew.

If you’ve experienced water damage or think you’ve been exposed to mold in your home, Thomas’ Carpet Cleaning and Restoration Services can get your house back to being a home! Call us now or request help online!