There's a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation regarding the distinction between mould and mildew out there. Both are typical home fungus that flourish in moist, humid settings. It's fairly unusual for people to confuse one for the other or believe they're the same thing because they share a lot of fundamental qualities.
Mould and mildew are not the same thing in reality (although mildew is a subclass of mould). The first step in precisely detecting and efficiently eliminating one (or both) from your house is to understand the distinctions between them.
Mildew, like other types of mould, is a microscopic fungus that spreads through the air as tiny spores. Mildew begins to colonise and proliferate when these spores drop in moist or humid conditions.
Unlike moulds, mildew does not penetrate surfaces or develop into the things it comes into contact with (though it can still cause cosmetic damage). Instead, it develops on flat surfaces and frequently gathers in areas such as the grout between your bathroom tiles.
While mildew is ugly and should be removed as soon as possible, it is far easier to discover and remove than mould. Mildew normally grows above the surface; it can be quite easy to remove with a fungicide or dilute bleach.
Mildew has an instantly recognisable odour. The smell of mildew is earthy, and may remind you of old buildings or books, it has a much stronger smell than mould. The smell of mildew is quite strong, and you will be aware of it as soon as you enter a room or open a cupboard where mildew is growing.
Because mildew’s initial growth is on the surface rather than below it like mould, it is often easier to spot early. The most common type of mildew in British homes appears white or grey when it first develops. Over time it may darken, but it will retain a dry look with a downy covering of light filaments called hyphae.
Thankfully, mildew does not present the same level of health risk as black moulds can as it does not release the same type of mycotoxins into the air, it should still be taken seriously as it can do cosmetic damage to your home and leave unsightly stains on furniture and walls.
Mildew is usually a symptom of a deeper problem with the humidity levels in your home – it grows best in damp environments with poor ventilation. This means that mildew can be an indicator of other potential health risks including mould problems and dampness which can have a serious effect on people with respiratory problems such as asthma or weak immune systems.
To prevent mildew from growing in your home, and banish the musty smell and stains for good, you need to remove the damp conditions that it needs to grow. Contact us today to book your free home survey. Our local ventilation specialists will identify the cause of condensation in your home and provide you with advice about the best solution for your mildew problems.
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