How to Identify & Clean Mold vs. Mildew

Close-up Of Woman Cleaning Mold or Mildew From Wall Using a Sponge

Both mold and mildew are a type of fungus. They both thrive in warm, moist environments. And they can grow on a variety of surfaces, from food and clothing to walls and windowsills. However, they also have a few important differences, including how to clean and treat them.

How to Tell the Difference Between Mold & Mildew

Mold tends to look fuzzy, or slimy, with a raised texture. It typically has a strong musty odor, and may be black, green, gray or even red or purple in color.

Mildew is lighter in color, usually with a gray, white or brown hue, and it looks flat and powdery. It also tends to have a less obvious odor. Mildew is often found on shower walls and windowsills.

How to Clean Mildew

Mildew is a fungus that lives on the surface and can easily be cleaned and treated with common household cleaners and a scrub brush, scouring pad or wet cloth.

  • Store-Bought Cleaners – Look for products with antimicrobial properties and follow the instructions on the label.
  • Bleach – Dilute 2 oz. of bleach in 32 oz. of warm water. Pour over mildew and allow to stand for 15-30 minutes, then rinse.
  • Vinegar – Use a spray bottle to apply undiluted white vinegar to the mildew and allow to stand for 30 minutes or more. Scrub the area with a soft-bristled brush and wipe clean with a cloth. (Discard the cloth when done.)
  • Rubbing Alcohol – For leather items, combine one cup alcohol with one cup water and apply with a wet cloth.

How to Clean Mold

Mold clean up is more difficult because it grows beneath the surface and is often part of a larger problem that requires professional treatment. Unlike mildew, mold penetrates the surface and eats away at the cellular integrity of the object it’s feeding on.

If the mold is in a small area, less than 10 square feet, then the same cleaning techniques as mildew can be applied. However, for larger mold infestations, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends professional mold remediation. Depending on the type of mold and how long it has been growing, building materials, such as drywall, paneling, wood framing and even concrete may be compromised and require removal.

Professional Mold Removal & Clean Up

Exposure to mold can be harmful to your health and can contribute to a number of health issues. If the mold growth in your home or business exceeds a three foot by three foot patch, it’s best to consult a mold remediation expert.

MacFawn Fire & Flood Restoration specializes in both residential and commercial mold removal and clean up in Albany, Saratoga and Glens Falls NY, as well as Worcester MA, Media PA and Tampa FL. We are a fully licensed mold remediation company and use a multi-step mold removal process under strict health and safety guidelines.

For prompt, professional service, call 1-877-MACFAWN or contact us online.