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  • Writer's pictureSimona

Mildew vs. Mold: Understanding the Difference - A Realtor's Guide

A person wearing protective gloves and scrubbing a surface covered in mold or mildew with a cleaning brush and spray bottle.

As a realtor, I've encountered many clients who express concerns about mildew and mold in homes. While these terms are often used interchangeably, they actually refer to different types of fungal growth, each with its own implications for health and property. Understanding the difference between mildew and mold is crucial for maintaining a safe and healthy living environment. Let's dive into the distinctions between the two to shed light on this important topic.


Mildew is a surface fungus that typically appears as powdery or fluffy white, gray, or yellow patches. It thrives in moist environments and is commonly found on damp surfaces such as bathroom walls, shower curtains, and window sills. Mildew is relatively easy to remove with commercial cleaners or homemade solutions like vinegar and water.

While mildew can be unsightly and may cause some respiratory irritation, it is generally considered less harmful than mold. However, if left unchecked, mildew can spread and cause damage to surfaces over time.


Mold, on the other hand, is a more serious issue. It typically appears as fuzzy patches that range in color from green and black to orange and purple. Mold thrives in damp, humid environments and can grow on various surfaces, including walls, ceilings, carpets, and furniture.

Unlike mildew, mold can cause significant health problems, especially for individuals with respiratory issues or compromised immune systems. Prolonged exposure to mold spores can lead to allergies, asthma attacks, and even severe respiratory infections.

Furthermore, mold can cause structural damage to buildings if left untreated. It can weaken walls, floors, and ceilings, leading to costly repairs and decreased property value.

Prevention & Remediation:

Preventing mildew and mold growth requires proper moisture control. Be sure to ventilate bathrooms, kitchens, and basements, use dehumidifiers in damp areas, and promptly repair any leaks or water damage.

If you suspect mold or mildew in your home, it's essential to address the issue promptly. While mildew can often be removed with household cleaners, mold remediation may require professional assistance. A qualified mold remediation specialist can assess the extent of the problem, safely remove the mold, and implement measures to prevent its return.

In conclusion, while mildew and mold may seem similar at first glance, they differ in terms of appearance, health effects, and severity. As a realtor, I find it crucial to educate my clients on the distinctions between the two and the importance of addressing any fungal growth promptly. And, by understanding how to prevent and remediate mildew and mold, you can help ensure a safe and healthy living environment for your family. Understanding the difference between mildew and mold is crucial for maintaining a safe and healthy living environment.


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