Mildew vs. Mold: Understanding the Key Differences

Dehumidifier Critic / Mildew vs. Mold

Mold and mildew are terms often used interchangeably, but they refer to two distinct types of fungi. Both can be harmful to our health and our homes, but understanding their differences can help in effectively addressing and preventing their growth.

What is the difference between Mold and Mildew?

Mildew refers to certain kinds of mold or fungus. It is often used generically to refer to mold growth, usually with a flat appearance. On the other hand, mold might have a slimy texture and is more invasive than mildew Mold tends to appear in darker shades of black, green, and red, while mildew is typically white, gray, or yellow and grows on surfaces.

Characteristics of Mold and Mildew

Mold looks slimy or fuzzy, while mildew is powdery. Mold and mildew both require water, oxygen, and food to survive, but they differ in several ways. For instance, mold is more troublesome and invasive than mildew, which is typically found in wet areas.

How to Address Mold and Mildew in Your Home

It’s crucial to determine whether you’re dealing with mold or mildew, as the approach to address them might differ. Mildew is relatively easier to clean, often requiring just a surface cleaning. In contrast, mold, due to its invasive nature, might require more intensive measures.

Reducing Humidity and the Role of Dehumidifiers

One of the most effective ways to prevent the growth of mold and mildew is by reducing humidity in your home. High humidity levels provide the perfect environment for these fungi to thrive. Using dehumidifiers can help maintain optimal humidity levels, making it less conducive for mold and mildew to grow.


While mold and mildew are both fungi that can pose risks to our health and homes, understanding their differences is key to effectively addressing them. By taking preventive measures, such as reducing humidity and using dehumidifiers, we can create an environment where these fungi are less likely to thrive.