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Is it Mold or Mildew?

Mildewed walls with different sorts of mold (close-up shot)

It’s been hot, humid, dry, cool, damp, rainy, and everything in between so far this summer in Minocqua. Such is life in the Midwest, right? Well, as we’ve told you before, mold can grow year-round, but it’s probably not a surprise that weather conditions this time of year often create optimal breeding grounds for both mold and mildew. However, there is a difference between the two, and one requires more serious solutions that the other.

The Differences Between Mold vs Mildew

While both mold and mildew have some similar characteristics, like having a mutual appreciation for warm, moist areas, there are some big differences as well. The main differences are color, size, and texture.


By definition, mildew is a surface fungi that is easily treated with a store-bought cleaner and a good scrub brush. It often appears as a small patch of gray or white lying on the surface of a moist area. Yes, this is a specific type of mold, but since the growth is flat, it is easily removed.

Mildew is most commonly found on damp surfaces, paper, fabrics, and other organic materials in your home.


While mildew grows on the surface of objects, mold goes deeper and generally grows on food or inside permanent structures like crawl spaces, basements, walls, and so on. Unlike mildew, mold grows in green or black patches that penetrate the affected surface, across a larger space than mildew.

In general, a mold is slimy or fuzzy in appearance, and the spots have irregular shapes. While mildew is gray or white, mold can be just about all the colors of the rainbow: blue, green, yellow, brown, gray, black, or white.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are more than 10,000 mold species that can live indoors. Wow! The good news is, not all of them are toxic. However, that doesn’t mean you should let mold dwell in your home.

Removal Techniques

Like we said above, mildew can probably be just cleaned up on your own with a good disinfectant cleaner and a scrub brush. Mold, on the other hand, should be removed by experienced professionals, like our mold removal technicians at K-tech Kleening. The process requires proper safety measures and actual removal of the mold. Pouring bleach on mold will not get rid of the source of the mold, meaning while it may have disappeared on the surface, it was not properly remediated and will likely reappear soon.

If you do believe there is mold in your home, there are simple tests that can be done to verify the mold is present, and even determine how much the actual air in your home is contaminated by mold spores. This is why it is important for mold to be properly remediated as airborne spores can cause people in your home (or business) to become ill. While not all mold is toxic, some are, and for some people that mold can trigger allergies, asthma flare-ups, headaches, respiratory issues, and other health conditions.

One call to K-tech can get you and your family on track to breathe easy again very soon!

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