Many people will panic when the word “mold” is mentioned but are OK if “mildew” is present. Little do people know that there is no difference between Mold and Mildew. Online you may find statements like “Mildew is distinguished from its closely related counterpart, mold, largely by its color: molds appear in shades of black, blue, red, and green, whereas mildew is white.” This statement is misleading because some molds are also white.The authoritative Ainsworth & Bisby’s Dictionary of the Fungi has the following definitions for mold and mildew.
Mold:A micro-fungus having a well-marked mycelium or spore mass, especially an economically important saprobe.
Mildew:1. A plant disease in which the pathogen is seen as a growth on the surface of the host.2. The staining, and frequently the breaking up, of cloth and fibers, paint, etc., by fungi and bacteria.3. A fungus causing 1 or 2.
From these definitions it is clear that what we see in our homes or our commercial property is mold. Secondly both mold and mildew are fungi and the only difference between mildew and mold is that the former is found growing on plants as a pathogen while the latter is found growing on building materials and other dead organic materials as a saprobe. In fact some fungi are able to grow on both living hosts (plants) and also on dead organic material.
Mold or mildew if you like develop from minute structures (“seeds”) called spores. These mold spores are everywhere including in our homes. You will find them in dust on carpet, window frames, furniture, walls, ceiling, etc. These spores may not be in large amounts to cause any health problem. The problem comes if your home has water damage due to:
• Flooding,• Sewage back-up from flooding in the area,• Plumbing or roof leaks,• Damp basement or crawlspace,• Overflows from sinks or bathtub,• High humidity from steam cooking, dryer vents, humidifiers, etc.
When the spores are dry in the dust they are dormant but once they get wet mold develop within 24-48 hours. The mold continues to grow unless steps are taken to eliminate the source of moisture, and effectively deal with the mold problem. It is when mold grows in your house, hotel, commercial property, industrial building due to moisture that you, your family or employees are at risk of mold exposure.
If you suspect you have mold in your home, or commercial property, do not panic. Contact a qualified mold remediation company that can assess the extent of mold contamination and recommend the most appropriate way to remove it and to fix the moisture problem. Do not attempt to remove the mold yourself if you don’t know what you are dealing with or if you don’t have the right tools to deal with the mold. The CleanUP Guys is an industry leader in the Chicago area and suburbs for mold removal, mold remediation, mold decontamination services.