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Mildew, Mold and Understanding the Difference

If you’ve heard horror stories about mold infestations in homes, you might be on high alert for this common household enemy. So when you come across what you think to be mildew lurking on your bathroom tile and shower wall, you might suddenly find yourself questioning if it could really be something more dangerous – like black mold.

So how do you know when to simply take a little elbow grease to gunk on your walls or floor and when the problem might be better left to a professional? Take a look at this brief overview of the differences between mildew and mold and how to handle each problem.

What Is Mildew?

Mold and mildew are both types of fungi. Of the two, mildew is much less invasive and also much easier to get rid of on your own, than mold. If it’s really mildew that you’re dealing with, it’ll probably be grayish-white or brown and can look powdery. Since it only lives on the surface of materials like your bathtub or bathroom sink, mildew is fairly easy to scrub clean with a regular household cleaner or diluted bleach.

Although mildew can cause similar symptoms as mold, including allergic reactions and respiratory problems, it’s not usually as big of a deal because of how easy it is to get rid of.

What Is Mold?

Unlike mildew, mold can be extremely difficult to remove from your home completely, as it can penetrate through surfaces like walls and furniture and hide out there for long periods of time becoming more noticeable. Although some mold resembles mildew in color, other types of mold can be red, green, and very dark black.

Stachybotrys, or “black mold,” is one of the most dangerous types and can cause flu-like symptoms, diarrhea, headaches, memory loss and severe respiratory damage. If you see black, gray, or dark green mold in your home with a very musty odor, it’s best not to try to deal with this problem on your own. Instead, call in a professional for mold testing and mold removal if necessary.

We always recommend testing for mold, even when you visually see mold in your home, and here is why.

Home Remedies for Mold

Although professional mold removal can be costly, you don’t want to risk your health or the health of your family by either ignoring the problem or trying to do it yourself. Once any active mold is completely gone, however, there are some steps you can take to try to prevent more mold from invading your home in the future.

The best mold prevention tip is to keep your home as dry as possible. If you know you have a leaky basement or roof, making these repairs could save you in the long run by keeping mold at bay. There are also special types of drywall on the market that may help to keep the air in your home dry and clean.

If you still have questions about how to detect mold or how the mold testing process works, feel free to call IRIS Environmental Laboratories at 1-800-908-6679 or contact us online for more information.

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