Fungus (plural ‘fungi’) are a species of organisms that get their food from decaying material or other living things. There are different types of fungi such as yeasts, rusts, smuts, mildews, molds.
Mold and mildew are a type of fungi commonly found in moist places. One of their significant features is that they tend to spread easily and if left unattended can damage property or create health issues.
One may consider mold and mildew as brothers as both belong to the general classification of fungi, have similar attributes, thrive usually on moist areas and are harmful to health.
Mold vs Mildew
The difference between mold and mildew lies in their appearance and growth. While mold is green or black and grows under any wet surface, mildew is usually white, or yellow and grows on the surface. However, the above is not the only difference. A comparison between both the terms on certain parameters can shed light on subtle aspects.
Comparison Table Between Mold and Mildew (in Tabular Form)
|Parameter of Comparison||Mold||Mildew|
|Description||Type of fungus that develops on stale food or on objects that have been left too long in moist or wet areas||Mildew can be described as a specific type of mold|
|Colour||Green or black||White|
|Texture||Fuzzy, slimy||Fluffy, powdery|
|Where usually found/seen||Usually underneath a surface.|
Grows on food
|On a moist surface.|
Seen on walls, damp surfaces, leather, clothings, ceilings
|Pattern of growth||Grows as irregularly shaped spots||Grows in regular flat pattern|
|Types||Alternaria , Aspergillus, Penicillium, Stachybotrys chartarum and many others||Powdery mildew, downy mildew, aspergillus and many others|
|Generally classified as||Fungi||Specific type of mold|
|Uses||Food production, drug production||None|
|Which is more harmful||Mold is more harmful as it can grow on food||Less harmful as it is easy to remove since it grows on surface|
|Why harmful/less harmful||Releases toxins||Usually affects plants and crops, walls and easier to eliminate|
|What is commonly affected||Food||Plants and crops|
|Could the underlying surface be affected||If grown on food, the food will be spoilt||The walls, ceilings will not be affected|
|How to prevent||Not keeping perishable food for many days||Using mildew removers|
What is Mold?
Mold is basically a fungi growth at home mostly on food, or other slightly wet or humid surfaces. For example, one may see green growth on stale bread at home. The common varieties of mold include: alternaria aspergillus, cladosporium, penicillium.
Mold requires a moist place to grow. mold grows in irregular or circular fashion on a surface. The colour of mold is either green or black and bears a slimy texture or at times downy.
Mold can cause detrimental consequences if one eats any food containing mold. Even the surfaces where there is growth of mold begin to rot.
Also, prolonged exposure to mold can be fatal from a health perspective and cause serious long-term issues such as heart problems, depression, asthma, pressure, and extreme fatigue.
Mold can leave lasting damages on the surface on which it spreads. Though molds are harmful, some are used in food and drug production or to improve flavor. Examples include yeast, penicillium.
What is Mildew?
Mildew is a type of fungus which grows on plants, crops, walls, paper, cloth, under wet and moist conditions. Ideally, one may observe mildew on walls, ceilings or any surface which is wet for some time (so can be called ‘surface fungi’).
Mildew is also classified as a type of mold. mildew will appear in white or gray color. There are multiple types of mildew. The common ones include powdery mildew, downy mildew, aspergillus, rhizopus, etc.
The ideal months for growth of mildew is during the winter season when people have a tendency to close the windows and humidity rises. If mildew are left unattended, they can be harmful for health as inhalation can cause cough, headache, respiratory problems.
But the best part is that mildew can be eliminated easily through multiple ways such as cleaning the surfaces, using mildew removers, scrubbers, etc. to clean and wipe the surface.
One does not need to replace the entire surface or the item as the surface will not get damaged by mildew. There is less possibility of someone getting seriously harmed due to mildew due to its easier elimination being feasible.
Main Differences Between Mold and Mildew
- Mold is a type of fungus, green or black in appearance and with a fuzzy or slimy texture. Mildew is a specific type of mold usually in white, gray or yellow colour and with a fluffy or powdery texture.
- Mold grows underneath the surface of anything that has got wet or moist, ideally can be seen on perished food items. Mildew thrives on moist or damp surfaces such as bathrooms, walls, ceilings, damp surfaces, paper, fabrics.
- Mold appears as irregularly shaped spots that can have different colors – blue, green, etc. Mildew will usually appear growing in a flat pattern.
- Mold may be used in food production, example, penicillium is utilized for cheese making. Mildew may not be used for any food related purpose.
- Mold can be prevented by keeping all areas in home dry and free of moisture, not keeping perishable foods for too long. For preventing mildew, one can use mildew removers, using mildew-resistant seeds, and fungicides.
- The smell of mold is that of a pungent rotting wood or paper, accompanied with release of harmful toxins. Mildew has a stale, or damp smell.
Neither mold nor mildew is pleasant to our eyes and nose. If one is encountering any growth which seems to be mold or mildew, it is better to remove it (in case of mold, eliminating the item itself) rather than spotting the difference.
The reason being, both mold, and mildew is a type of fungi are harmful to health though mildew is a less threat.
The best way of preventing mold or mildew would be to conduct household bleaching, or using the services of any trustworthy deep cleaning agents to suspect any untoward growth.
An ideal practice would be to keep the home and all areas dry and free of moisture, keeping the windows open and importantly finish any perishable items before they become prey of the fungi.
It is best to inspect your home regularly for growth of either mold or mildew as a small growth will generate their tentacles, slowly growing and gradually spreading their ugly smell and toxins affecting the entire house, areas, articles besides generating moderate but yet progressive health complications.
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