This hurricane season, increased moisture from rains or flooding could increase the likelihood of mold and mildew growth indoors. While these fungi have their differences, they both develop in moist or damp conditions. When left unchecked, mold and mildew could cause illnesses and may even compromise structural integrity, which makes professional removal and remediation necessary.
ServiceMaster Remediation Services has compiled these differences between mold and mildew and the dangers they may present to your home and business.
Basic Facts About Mold
Here are 21 facts about mold, as compiled by the experts of ServiceMaster Restore.
- Mold needs moisture to grow. Outdoors, mold grows in the soil, on vegetation and on decaying materials. Indoors, mold thrives in damp, moist conditions like bathrooms, basements, or even behind the drywall when there’s been water damage.
- Mildew is mold. That white-gray, powdery stuff that sometimes appears on the leaves of plants is mildew, an early stage of mold.
- There are four common types of indoor mold: Alternaria, Aspergillus, Cladosporium and Penicillium.
- Often, mold found in a home appears greenish-gray, brownish-green, gray and even black. You may find slimy green mold on the exterior growing on vinyl siding located in an area that receives little to no sun. This mold usually can be removed with a power washer.
- Mold, a fungi, spreads by spores, which act as seeds to form new mold colonies.
- Some mold spores do contain toxins that can cause health issues when inhaled. People with mold allergies, pregnant women, anyone suffering from asthma, has a compromised immune system or respiratory conditions shouldn’t be exposed to mold. This is why mold remediation by professionals is essential.
- Reactions to mold may include, but are not limited to, headache, fever, cough, wheezing and flu-like symptoms. It can trigger asthma attacks as well.
- The terms “toxic mold” or “black mold” refer to Stachybotrys chartarum. Typically, it’s greenish-black in color and develops after a space has suffered heavy water damage. It, and all other kinds of mold, needs to be removed safely by professionals trained in mold removal.
- Mold on a shower curtain or in the tile’s grout around a tub can be removed by a homeowner. Bleach removes mold, but remember to only use it in a room that’s well-ventilated. Also, some types of tile will etch with bleach contact, so make sure to spot check the bleach before using around the entire tub.
- Running a bathroom fan can help reduce the development of mold in the room. Open glass shower doors to allow ventilation and never bunch a shower curtain, instead keep it open so it can dry thoroughly. Remember, mold needs moisture for growth.
- A musty, mildew-y smell in the basement is not natural. It’s likely mold due to water damage, a cracked foundation, or leaking pipes.
- If that musty, mildew-y smell is present in your home, it’s important to locate the source of the smell or the location of the mold.
- For mold growth in a residential home, the CDC does not recommend mold sampling or testing.
- Keeping indoor humidity levels below 45 percent can inhibit mold growth.
- Condensation on windows, walls and other hard surfaces is a sign of high humidity in the home, which increases the risk for mold development.
- After a water damage event (flood, burst pipe, firefighting efforts), mold can begin to grow as soon as 24 to 48 hours.
- Mildew, a type of mold, easily develops on cardboard, books, and even fabrics. Store old clothes and other items in water-resistant containers instead of cardboard boxes to reduce the risk for mold growth.
- Mildew often can be brushed off fabrics like curtains and clothing.
- After a home flood, mold can grow in many unseen places including behind drywall, within insulation, on carpet padding, and even throughout the HVAC system.
- Adding mold inhibitors to paint before painting can reduce the potential for mold growth.
- ServiceMaster Remediation Services offers complete mold remediation services performed safely and effectively by professionals.
Basic Facts About Mildew
Mildew is often used interchangeably with mold, but it is actually an early stage of mold. Mildew is that powdery, whitish-gray substance sometimes seen on plant leaves and can also grow on organic material, wood or fibrous items like:
Mildew is a surface fungus that grows on something wet and can easily be removed or wiped off, unlike mold. Mildew is not dangerous on its own, but it can help building owners locate a water leak or a water-damaged area.
Facts About Mold
Mold comes in a variety of colors, commonly appearing brown, black, green or gray. Mold can be fuzzy, flat or slimy and can develop on grout, tile and other surfaces in moist areas, humid spaces and those with inadequate ventilation indoors. Mold commonly develops in:
Unlike mildew, mold penetrates the surfaces it grows on. This necessitates immediate mold removal by professionals, as it can be a difficult task. Exposure to mold and its spores could trigger allergies and asthma and aggravate existing respiratory conditions.
Mold versus Mildew
Mildew is a fungus of flat growth and is non-penetrative, while mold encompasses all microscopic fungi and grow on any organic matter. They both produce a musty odor.
Why Get Professional Mold Remediation?
Can Mold Make You Sick?
Concern about indoor exposure to mold has been increasing as the public becomes aware that exposure to mold can cause a variety of health effects and symptoms, including allergic reactions. Mold releases spores that can cause allergic reactions. These allergens may be invisible to the eye but can cause serious health problems.