Mildew vs. Mold: What is the difference between Mildew and Mold?

Mildew vs. Mold: Since mildew and mold are a type of fungi, it is easy to confuse them. Discover their Differences, Similarities, as well as their Pros & Cons.
Mildew vs. Mold: Differences, Similarities, Pros & Cons

Mildew vs. Mold: since both mildew and mold are a type of fungi, it is easy to confuse them. The biggest difference between mold and mildew lies in the latter’s tendency to grow flat on the surface. Mold, on the other hand, grows in the form of raised round patches over the surface. 

Defining mold and mildew for better clarification

What is Mildew?

Mildew is a fungus growing in the form of flat, thread-like structures.

What is the mold?

Mold is a fungus growing in the form of fluffy mass.

Considering mildew vs. mold similarities for understanding

  • Both mildew and mold are a type of fungi.
  • Both can have varied shapes and colors.
  • High-moisture and high-humidity are the precursors for the growth of both mildew and mold. 
  • Both release spores that, when inhaled, can cause health complications like nausea, headaches, nervous disorders, breathing disorders, skin problems, brain damage, to name a few. 
  • Both mildew and mold have a musty smell. 
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Listing the pros and cons of mildew and mold for a clear distinction

Pros of Mildew

  • Mildew is easier to treat than mold.
  • It is not as harmful to the surface it grows on as the mold is. 

Cons of Mildew

  • It is detrimental to your health.
  • It is destructive to crops and plants.

Pros of Mold

  • Leaf mold helps in efficient gardening by increasing the water-holding capacity of the soil.
  • The food industry uses some molds like Penicillium and Neurospora.

Cons of Mold

  • It is harmful to your health.
  • It negatively impacts the surface it grows on as it penetrates deeper into it.

What is the best mold and mildew remover that kills the fungi?

White vinegar is an efficient mold and mildew cleaner to eradicate the fungi from the root. It is known to kill even the deadliest mold; the black mold. Contrary to popular belief, bleach is ineffective in killing mold and mildew. Using bleach makes the mold seep inside and grow out later even stronger, causing more damage. 

Alternatively, you can also go for Tilex Mold and Mildew Remover Spray and Lysol Mold and Mildew Blaster for killing mold and mildew and removing the stains left by them.

Is mildew harmful to your health?

Mildew can prove harmful for health by causing common symptoms like nausea, allergic reactions, breathing difficulties, headaches and other related pains, fever, et al. The more serious health issues include nervous disorders, vomiting, chronic bronchitis, blindness, brain damage, bleeding lungs, brain fog, memory loss, to name a few. 

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What happens if you breathe in mildew?

Breathing in mildew can cause a runny nose, sneezing, watery and red eyes. More prolonged exposure can cause severe respiratory and neural complications.

How do you detox your body from mold?

There has been no known at-home detoxification method for mold. The blogger-claimed techniques, like to pull the mold out of the system using activated charcoal or bentonite clay, have been proven to cause profound health implications. Additionally, FDA disapproves of all such methods. Hence, it is recommended to visit a certified health practitioner than to worsen the issue with wrong DIY remedies. 

Can mold grow in your lungs?

Yes, mold can grow in the lungs as well. By binding with the white blood cells, mold can grow in the lung cavities. Serious lung diseases like tuberculosis originally form such cavities.

Is it dangerous to smell mildew?

Yes, it is extremely dangerous to smell mildew as it can cause similar illnesses as inhaling mold. From mild respiratory issues like sneezing, coughing, wheezing, the illness may worsen to high fever or severe headaches if not addressed on time. 

How quickly can mold make you sick?

Falling sick from mold is subjective and can impact everyone differently. Those sensitive to allergic reactions like asthma or skin rashes can catch an illness in just a few days of mold showing up on the surface. Others with stronger immunity response or low sensitivity to smells might stay healthy for weeks and stay unaffected. 

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What foods kill mold?

To kill mold, one must incorporate the foods that annihilate mold action or helps in detoxifying the body of mold infection. Such foods include :

  • Tubers and root vegetables like ginger, radish, onions, garlic.
  • Herbs like cilantro, oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme.
  • Spices like cloves, cinnamon, sage, turmeric, cayenne pepper.
  • Oils like olive oil, coconut oil.
  • Green leafy vegetables like lettuce, kale, spinach.
  • Legumes like chickpeas, split peas.
  • Seeds and nuts like Macadamia nuts, Brazilian nuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, flax seeds.
  • Gluten-free grains like quinoa, buckwheat, millets.

Also, avoid all processed foods, refined sugar, gluten, caffeine, and dairy products to help the body fight back. 

What does toxic mold look like? 

Toxic mold often looks like a black or greenish patch growing in the decaying paper, wood, food, or moist and humid areas. It might be giving off a nasty smell on getting closer. 

Mold vs. Mildew: 5 Key Differences

ShapeMildew has a flat shape on the surface.Mold has a rounded shape.
ColorMildew can have yellow, white, or gray color.Mold typically has a black or green color.
TextureIt can have a powdery or fluffy texture. Mold can be either fuzzy or slimy.
Growth patternMildew has a spill-like pattern, growing outward. Look for big dark stains to spot mildew.Mold can grow over and above a surface in small circles.
DamageThe damage caused by mildew is temporary and can be addressed by inexpensive at-home treatments. The damage caused by mold is permanent and needs extensive repair or maybe, replacement of the affected item like wall or furniture. 

What is less harmful between Mold and Mildew?

Mildew is an early-stage mold, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). It is, therefore, potentially less harmful than mold. Also, considering black mold vs. mildew, the former one is known to be the deadliest out of all kinds of molds and mildew. Both are, however, detrimental to your health.

Comparison Chart

Mildew vs. Mold: Since mildew and mold are a type of fungi, it is easy to confuse them. Discover their Differences, Similarities, as well as their Pros & Cons.

Comparison Video

What is the Difference between Mold and Mildew?


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Alex Stantor
Alex Stantor

Alex Stantor is a Sorbonne University (Paris, France) graduate in Philosophy and Data Analysis. Currently, he is an Author and Researcher at Difference 101, he writes articles/blog posts on topics such as "thinking differently" and "the importance of difference". Alex is a passionate advocate of diversity in the workplace and in companies, and diversity and inclusion in corporate communications. He currently lives in Brooklyn.

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