Mildew and mold both are both tiny organisms, neither animal or plant. They are members of “fungal hyphae” and grow on plants or damp organic material such as paper or leather. Both thrive in moist, warm areas where they might sprout their homes. They can also each grow on a multitude of surfaces, from food to your shower to a sheet of paper. And, of course, they are both two types of fungi that no homeowner likes to see in his or her home. But mold and mildew also have striking differences when it comes to size, color, and texture.
Mildew is a surface fungi that can easily be identified as a patch of gray or even white fungus that is lying on the surface of a moist area. Mildew is easily treated with a store bought cleaner and a scrubbing brush.
Mold, on the other hand, can be black or green and is often the result of a much larger infestation. This type of fungus can appear almost “fuzzy” — especially when it is found on food — or even slimy in nature.
Colors of Mold
The most common types of mold include Aspergillus, Cladosporium and Stachybotrys atra (also known as black mold). Aspergillus is a fairly allergenic mold that is commonly found in foods and in home air conditioning systems. Cladosporium is typically a black or green “pepper-like” substance that grows on the back of toilets, painted surfaces, and fiberglass air ducts.
Mold that appears to be orange or red in color is typically found outdoors, given its nature to thrive on decaying plants or moist wood. This type of mold, which can appear slimy, is harmless and should only be removed for aesthetic purposes.
Dangers of Mold to Humans and Pets
While this mold is nontoxic to humans, it can trigger common allergy symptoms in people are sensitive to it For these people, molds can cause nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, or, in some cases, skin irritation. People with mold allergies may have more severe reactions. Immune-compromised people and people with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may get serious infections in their lungs when they are exposed to mold.
Pets, too, can be very sensitive to molds. Signs of an allergy to mold might include excessive scratching, chewing, or licking, which sometimes progresses to the point of fur loss and the development of sores. Mold ingestion by your pets can even lead to gastric symptoms such as decreased appetite, vomiting, and stool changes.
What if the Extent is More than You Can Handle?
Cleaning mold on exposed areas is never enough to completely remove mold contamination from a property; surface mold is only a small portion of the problem. When surface mold shows, there is typically mold growth underneath the surface that needs to be cleaned and removed to completely eliminate mold spores. According to ACC Cleaning and Restoration, “It’s not what you can see that you should worry about. It’s the stuff you can’t see that you should worry about.”
A useful tip to maximize the time of a mold remediation expert is to prepare ahead of time any questions you might have and to be ready to point out your areas of concern. When you are choosing a mold inspector, be sure research the companies you are thinking of selecting. Ask neighbors or friends for recommendations, and don’t hesitate to ask questions when calling a company to inquire about their services.
ACC Cleaning and Restoration, a locally owned company, serves Greenville area families, property management companies, businesses, and corporations. Licensed and certified staff are available at (252) 689-8188 or accrestoration.com to safely clean, remove, and remediate mold-infected structures, carpets, and furniture. If any piece of material is beyond mold removal and remediation, ACC will be able to determine this and can dispose of the property safely.