Mildew VS Mold Smell

Mildew VS Mold Smell. These two potentially harmful household fungus are often combined together, yet they each have distinctive qualities that may help you differentiate them.

Due to how similar these two organisms are, there is a lot of confusion regarding the difference between mold and mildew.

Mildew is, in reality, a particular kind of mold. Both mold and mildew are fungus that grow well in damp surroundings, and both may be discovered in the home, particularly in wet areas that have been flooded.

Mold and mildew have a lot of similarities, but there are certain important differences between them that will help you get rid of them. Read on to learn more about mold vs. Read the rest of this article to find out more about the differences between them. Mildew is a fungus.

What Is Mold?

Molds are found in nature and live in the environment. They aid in the breakdown of dead organic matter, such as leaf litter, dead wood, and other waste, in nature.

The soil is enriched when these dead organic materials break down.

Mold in our homes or bodies is not good, however mold in a natural environment is. Mold growth may harm a house, and individuals who are sensitive to mold may be harmed by it.

The more damage it might cause as the mold growth continues.

What is mildew?

Mildew has most likely happened to you before if you’ve ever put wet clothes in a washer or left wet towels in a humid environment. Patches of gray and white fungus are the most common symptoms.

It’s typically found on moist surfaces (e.g., wet clothes, wet paper, wet walls). It may also have a powdery aspect and appear yellowish brown.

Mildew is most typically found in damp environments, such as bathrooms and basements. Mildew infestations are common in these damp areas, so they must be kept dry at all times.

Mildew may be seen by most homeowners easily. Its musty aroma might also be detectable to them.


Is Mildew the Same as Mold?

Is mildew and mold the same? is a very commonly asked question by people who are struggling with mold or mildew in their home.

Mildew and mold are funguses that may create odor compounds and elicit particular health impacts when they are exposed in an indoor setting. They have a lot of similarities.

Mold, on the other hand, is known to have a much more detrimental impact on the ecosystem and human health when it comes into contact with them.

Mildew is said to be a particular kind of mold that has flat development and lives on the surface, making it simple to eliminate.

Mildew growth is white, gray, or yellow in color and appears on moist, hot places.

Mildew, according to CetainTeed, may induce a similar allergic response as mold does, yet its removal from a house has much less of an effect on the ecosystem than mold growth.

Mold, on the other hand, is often seen as a problem in a home’s indoor environment that may elicit unfavourable responses.

Mold will generate a very strong scent of moldy in the air, which will be the first indication of its expansion indoors. As we previously stated, mold generates a strong odor.

Mold growth will create a noticeable discoloration that varies in color from bright reds to dark, swampy greens on the surfaces of your home as it expands.

Mold looks slimy or fuzzy, while mildew is powdery.

The two kinds of fungus look different, making them easier to distinguish, so it’s vital to determine if you’re dealing with mold or mildew.

Mildew is usually white or gray, with a texture that ranges from dry to powdery.

It always appears to be flat. Mold, on the other hand, can be any color ranging from green to black. It’s also slimy or fuzzy in appearance.


Health Risks Of Mold vs. Mildew

Mold and mildew have one thing in common: They both may cause minor to severe health problems if left untreated.

Mold and mildew aren’t just unattractive; they’re also harmful if you have allergies or asthma. Certain mold and mildew types may produce harmful chemicals in the air, which trigger an immune response.

Sensitive people to molds may experience stuffy noses, wheezing, itchy eyes, and skin, according to the CDC and Mayo Clinic.

Individuals predisposed to hypersensitivity pneumonitis experience more severe symptoms, including fever, upper respiratory tract symptoms, coughing, wheezing, breathlessness, and hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, mold exposure can also cause headaches, dizziness, tiredness, nasal inflammation, and nausea.

Mold may also have negative health implications that haven’t yet been established, such as forgetfulness, lethargy, and more serious impacts on children: studies are ongoing.

Mycotoxins from three mold species were found to be directly aerosolized into indoor environments under normal circumstances in a 2017 French study.

According to the study, these mold particles “may be readily inhaled by people and extensively penetrate into (the) respiratory tract” once they’re airborne.

Mildew vs mold smell

Smell is another technique to detect the distinction. Mold has a stronger, more pungent odor than mildew, which has a milder musty odor that some people compare to wet socks.

As mold develops, it produces microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs), which gives it a stronger scent.

Why You Should Be Aware of Smells

If you haven’t noticed any mildew or mold growth yet, there are times when you may not notice it.

Growth may begin underneath or within a carpet or wall before reaching the surface in certain circumstances. Smelling around your home might help you detect growth before it becomes apparent.

Can You Smell Mold or Mildew

Can You Smell Mold or Mildew?The honest answer is yes, you may smell both mold and mildew, and the odor will be very similar in the air of the impacted area.

Different properties, such as VOCs created or mycotoxins that cause the odor in the atmosphere, may account for the odorous chemicals generated by each of these indoor funguses.

Remember that inhaling mold or mildew-produced chemicals, as well as the inhalation of fungus reproductive seeds in the air, is a sign that you are smelling a musty odor in the air.


Mold burrows, but mildew grows on the surface.

Natural materials such as wood, paper, and leather may have mold or mildew growth. They are most likely to appear in damp areas like basements, bathrooms, and other locations with previous water damage at home.

Mildew, in particular, flourishes in moist conditions (relative humidity between 62 and 93% is optimal for development), which is why you’ll see it on shower walls and window ledges.

Mildew reproduces best when temperatures are between 77 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit, so temperature is also important.

Since mildew is a surface fungus, it can be identified easily and cause less damage in moist places. Mold, on the other hand, is more stealthy and buries itself under the surface, making it difficult to remove.


Where Do Mildew and Mold Grow?

Flooding, sewage backup from flooding in the neighborhood, plumbing, or roof leaks, moist basements and crawl spaces, sink and bathtub overflows, or high humidity may all cause mildew and mold in a house.

Within 24 to 48 hours of water exposure, mildew and mold will develop. Even worse, until the source of moisture is eliminated and the mold problem is effectively addressed, it will continue to grow. (FEMA)

Where to Find Mildew

When high moisture levels are present, mildew is common. Shower walls and window sills are two common places with high moisture levels.

Regularly monitoring and cleaning moisture levels in these areas will help to avoid development.

How To Clean Mildew


You’re no doubt eager to make sure your home is mold and mildew-free after learning how deadly these fungi can be.

If you catch surface mold and mildew early, they’re quite simple to clean. Spray a combination of vinegar and baking soda on the surface to remove mildew. Let it sit for a few hours, wipe it off.

You may also apply a baking soda paste to the surface, which consists of three parts baking soda and one part vinegar. Leave it sit for a couple of hours before scrubbing it off.

Mildew can be prevented with hydrogen peroxide, but it should never be combined or exposed to vinegar because this might be harmful.

You may also eliminate mildew using a bleach-and-water solution (mix one part bleach with three parts water), but be careful not to use it too soon after using vinegar or hydrogen peroxide.

To avoid mildew in the future, use a fan to keep the air moving and open the shades. Keeping the lights on and the room airy will help to reduce mildew’s probability of developing in your home.

Where to Find Mold

Mold can grow on any organic material that has mold spores and sufficient moisture to support their development.

Organic matter such as clothing, leather, paper, and ceilings, walls and floors may all develop mold growth.

How To Clean Mold

You may also use plain white distilled vinegar to clean the surface mold. Before cleaning or scrubbing the area, spray it liberally and leave for a while.

As you would with mildew (but again, avoid using these procedures simultaneously), you may also use hydrogen peroxide or chlorine bleach.

Alternatively, use RMR-86, which is effective against mold and mildew.

You may also use Mold Primer to prevent fungus from developing before it starts if you’re painting a room in your home that is frequently susceptible to humid and moist conditions (such as your bathroom or laundry room).

Further, it’s a smart idea to purchase an air purifier or dehumidifier if you’re asthmatic or have allergy concerns since they’ll help keep the air breathtroughr.

Also, look for signs of water leaks in your house. According to the EPA, in the event of mold, moisture management and prevention are critical, but it may be tough to eliminate completely if it has impacted walls and interiors.

It’s worth noting that mold cleaning may sometimes necessitate the use of expert services.

You may need further assistance if you have symptoms, if you have a major area of mold in your home (particularly in your HVAC systems), if you can’t locate the source of a mouldy odor, if your house has been flooded, or if you don’t believe you can do the job yourself.

Mildew can cause some health effects

Mold and mildew pose health concerns, but mold’s effects are much more severe, especially black mold or Stachybotrys chartarum.

Mildew can cause respiratory problems, a cough, or a headache in some people. Mold, on the other hand, may lead to memory loss, headaches, mood alterations, and depression by affecting the neurological system.

Skin and eye irritation, congestion, respiratory problems, and general aches and pains can all be caused by mold. Mold and mildew must be eliminated as soon as they are discovered, due to this.

Mildew can be removed with household products and cleaners, but removing mold is more complicated.

The way to get rid of mold and mildew is a major difference between the two. Mildew, which forms on surfaces, is eliminated using regular household cleaning products and a scrubbing brush.

Nonetheless, it’s critical to determine what type of mold it is once you’ve recognized a fungus as mold since the approach for removing it varies depending on the type.

When using protective gear like a mask and goggles, certain forms of mold may be eradicated with bleach or specialized cleaning products.

Some, such as Stachybotrys chartarum, necessitate the use of a mold remover.


Dangers of mold

Respiratory problems, asthma, allergies, headaches, skin discomfort, and other symptoms can all be caused by mold breathing in. Contact your medical professional if any of these symptoms occur for you.

Mold spores can develop on the underside of articles, harming personal items or causing damage to walls, floors, furniture, and other objects in your home.

In addition, here are some common indicators or risk factors for mold:

You’ve recently encountered moisture issues (e.g. Around windows and vents, there are floods, leaks, humidity, or condensation.

Mold (e.g., symptoms) is being exhibited by you or your family members. Sneezing, runny nose, skin rash, breathing difficulty, skin rashes, tiredness, and malaise are all allergic symptoms that occur indoors.

You might notice peeling paint or wallpaper (paint and wallpaper may corrode if mold develops on wood or drywall).

When you have air conditioning running (standalone AC units are particularly prone to mold formation), the odor is amplified.

You have a humidifier on at all times (excess water vapor can cause mold to grow).
You reside in a freshly-built house (due to job site storage challenges, improper insulation installation, or substandard building methods).

If you don’t detect mold in your house despite detecting an unusual mold-like stench, consider hiring a specialist mold inspector.

Mold inspections are a comprehensive search for mold in your home or apartment, which includes inspecting areas that you may not have considered.

Mold growth behind and beneath other surfaces is detected using moisture sensors and other tools.

The inspector will provide you with a thorough description of the discovered mold as well as a suggested mold remediation strategy. While this is not routinely required by the EPA, samples may be taken for testing.


Mold vs. Black Mold vs. Mildew

Black mold is something you’re probably familiar with, and you don’t want it invading your home. Black mold appears more like flat, black spots than typical fuzzy, bumpy mold growths. You should not, however, ignore them.

Mycotoxins, which are poisonous chemicals produced by the fungus, are released when black mold grows. The mold’s color, according to the CDC, does not seem to show a particular risk level.

Long-term exposure to black mold, on the other hand, may exacerbate allergies and lead to respiratory problems.

Black mold is more difficult to distinguish from mildew since it isn’t as spherical as typical mold. Mildew is lighter in color and may range from gray to white at its darkest. It’s most likely black mold if you’re seeing big black patches or sprays of black or green dots.

Which is the most dangerous thing in your house? Black mold is common in homes and businesses.


When it comes to your home, mildew and mold may be a problem, as well as causing symptoms in your body in certain situations.

If you notice fungus growth, take steps to eliminate it from your house and limit your risk of infection.

The scents that they emit may sometimes reveal growth that is not apparent.