How to Distinguish Between Mold and Mildew

How to Distinguish Between Mold and Mildew

According to the statistics in the USA, almost 25% of asthma cases were caused by high dampness levels or mold exposure. At the same time, UNICEF reports that the risk of exposure to asthma developing grows to 50% when it is forced by mold and dampness. Considering possible danger it’s highly important to distinguish between mildew which is a relatively harmless fungus of gray or white color and mold which can be green, black, or brown, and can cause not only respiratory diseases, but allergies, nausea, fatigue, and headaches as well. Signature Water and Fire Restoration performed a simple guide on mold types, ways to detect it, the difference between mildew and mold, and some steps to perform in order to remove it from your place.

The Obvious Differences Between Mold and Mildew

One of the simplest ways to distinguish between mold and mildew is to pay attention to its color. If you found white or grey fungus it is harmless mildew. It’s easy to clean it with a special solution and scrubbing brush, which are easy to purchase at any local store or order online.

If you found green, yellow, or black spots it seems to be a dangerous mold, which leads to structural destruction in a building, diseases and is the reason for other health hazards. Dark mold (green or black) evidences the significant infestation of the house which negatively affects your family and pets’ health. The danger can be remediated if mold was quickly caught and removed. Considering its fast-spreading and difficult cleanup the best decision would be to hire a professional team with heavy equipment to deal with it.

Mold Types

Our team of technicians in Signature Water and Fire Restoration knows more than 10 thousand mold species and respective ways to treat it. The most common are the following five.


Alternaria appears in premises damaged by water. It can successfully spread in different areas including places under sinks, showers, be around windows, on walls, and doors. Usually, it has black, dark-grey, or brown with a wooly or string-like structure. Mostly it causes allergies and respiratory diseases, including asthma.


Aspergillus is the most widespread species of mold in the USA. It can have any color being white, yellow, green, or black. The most common places attacked by aspergillus are walls, paper products, insulation, and even clothes. if it exists for a long time it causes lung infections and bloody coughs, immune reactions including fever, asthma, and allergic reactions. It brings high-risk exposure especially for people with weak immune or predisposed to diseases. To prevent it ensure aeration is sufficient, the premises are kept clean, and no leakages exist.


Cladosporium differs from other types by its ability to grow in cool areas. The commonplaces of living are carpets, curtains, surfaces of cabinets or flooring. The color is green or black. It’s not the most dangerous type of mold, although it can significantly hurt people with weak immune causing respiratory diseases, allergies, nails, and skin infections.

How to Distinguish Between Mold and Mildew


While Cladospriumis can grow in cool places Penicillium can spread in low humidity areas. You can find it on spoiled food, on furniture, carpets, wallpapers and insulation, textile. It is usually green or blue and smells unpleasant. It also differs by the high speed of spreading to all house’s areas and causes similar diseases to lungs.

Black Mold

Stachybotrys Chartarum or as it commonly called the black mold got its name from the color and extremely high toxicity. It is one of the most hazardous types of mold. Released into the air toxins causes strong headaches, continuous fatigue, fever, allergies, and significant breathing issues. It likes warm and humid places and has a specific smell of dirt, dust, or as some people say rotting leaves. The common areas of living are basements, air ducts, crawl spaces.

3 Ways to Detect the Mold in the House

You’ll be surprised to know that mold is not an obvious problem, rather it’s a silent one. In spite of the fact that the number of asthmatics in the USA grows and now it is higher than 4.5 million regular mold inspection is still a rare point in the homeowners’ maintenance checklist. Unfortunately, even regular inspections made on a payment basis in a period of house selling can bring no results because were made not thoroughly or made by an unprofessional team. At the same time, if the mold became obvious and you can monitor black spores at the surfaces it evidences that the infestation became huge and requires immediate experts involvement.

If you still have doubts about whether your house is infested with mold you can choose one of these ways to confirm it:

  • Order a visual inspection. A certified technician will come to your place to check mold existence visually. It is made on a payment basis. and rarely covered by insurance. As a result of this inspection, the technician will provide you with an official report with a conclusion on whether the building has any structural damage or areas with excessive moisture that can in the future cause mold.
  • Order an infrared inspection. Such type of test is more effective and cost-efficient because infrared cameras allow inspecting attics and crawls, places behind walls or under carpets and flooring and catch-up the temperature differences, It’s possible to identify excessive moisture, condensation, leakage and leave your space without causing structural changes.
  • Order an air quality test. The quality of this type of test is high as well as its price. Usually, it is proposed only if the previous tests showed preliminary positive results. The purpose is to take samples of the air inside the house and sent it to the lab for analysis.

How to Remove Mold

As was previously mentioned mildew is easier to remove and requires time, a scrubber brush, and a reliable chemical solution applied to areas of high moisture (windows, roof, and basement). At the same time, the same approach cannot be accepted for mold. Any physical impact causes quick spores spreading into the air and moving on through it to other places, so instead of removing the problem, you’ll extend it and will face increased health hazards.

Happily, professional service companies, like Signature Water and Fire Restoration train technicians in a special manner, provide them with all necessary PPE and equipment to make them able to remove mold without spores transfer to other spaces.

Why Is Hiring Professionals for Mold Remediation Required?

First of all, hiring a local restoration company is a matter of safety for your family and you. The second reason is that professionals in Signature Water and Fire Restoration take responsibility and guarantee that they will not turn an issue into a huge problem by letting mold spores spread over the entire house. The final reason is applying professional equipment which allows providing strong aeration and will isolate affected zones from others.

Call us 24/7 at +1-224-515-0100 and we’ll help you to identify whether you are an in-mold danger and if confirmed will help you to get out of it. We’ll gently remove it from your place leaving your family and you clean air and peace.