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Mold and Mildew

In this article, we explain in detail the properties, similarities and differences of mold and mildew, as part of our extensive expertise in cleaning and home solutions in Singapore. If you are keen to jump straight into how to remove mold in your house, and mold treatments – check out our other article written separately!

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What is Mold?

From a biological point of view, mold is a type of fungus. Mold can be both beneficial and harmful. However, from the point of view of our article, mold growing and causing infestations in our homes is something highly undesirable. More than just being unsightly, mold can also cause numerous problems. This includes health issues, unpleasant living conditions, and result in higher maintenance costs for property managers and owners. Mold is notorious for re-growing time and again after removal!

Mold VS Mildew

Differences of Mold and Mildew

In our article, we refer to “mold”, “mould” and “mildew” simply as “mold” because they have very similar meanings. Nonetheless, as a discerning homeowner or tenant, you would still want to know the differences. It is important to be aware of what cleaning companies are actually saying when they mention these terminologies.

The words “mold” (spelt more in this form by Americans), “mould” (spelt more in this form by British English) or “mildew” are basically referring to different types of Fungi. For the layman, mold is often referred to as a more extensive and severe type of manifestation compared to mildew. There are thousands of species of mold and mildew, and one or more of them may be growing in your house!

How do I tell the difference between mold and mildew?

One very visible difference is the color of that creepy growth you see in the bathroom. Mold growing in your house presents usually as patches of black, green or yellow. Mildew, on the other hand, is usually grey to white in color. The texture of mold is usually slimy, whilst that of mildew is powdery. Mold tend to grow deeper into structures (eg. pillar, walls, masonry or even vehicles). Mildew grow less deep and often over a large surface area faster (eg. the bathroom floor). Therefore, mold can cause more serious damage to structures whilst mildew causes comparatively more reparable damage. However, the surface area affected is not dependent on their type. Both can actually grow over huge surface areas.

Is mold removal more expensive?

Whilst mold is often considered more extensive than mildew, the removal of mold may not always be more intensive. This is a common myth amongst house dwellers and customers patronising cleaning companies. The difficulty and process of mold and mildew removal is not solely dependent on the type of fungi. The length of time, resources, and time required for mold removal depends on surface area and materials affected, types of location, and depth of manifestation.

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Mold and Mildew

Similarities of Mold and Mildew

Mold and mildew are part of the family of Fungi. They feed on organic materials such as fabric (eg. clothes, carpets, curtains), leather, paper and wood (eg. carpentry, furniture) and break these things down over time. Just like other species of Fungi, mold and mildew grow best in Singapore climate. This is due to the high humidity, warm temperatures and moisture everywhere!

What causes the moldy areas at home?

As you have just read, in Singapore, the primary reason is high humidity (read: moisture, moisture and moisture!). Unsurprisingly, you would notice higher manifestations of mold when the weather has been rainy and cold. This occurs, for instance, in December to March during the Northeast monsoon season. Higher incidences of mold manifestations occur also where steam and moisture lie around due to condensation. Examples include the kitchen and toilet. For those “fortunate” enough to be living near a lake or sea (eg. Sentosa Cove), the high levels of moisture in the surroundings further increases risks of mold growing!

With the conditions aforementioned, if left unchecked, mold and mildew can grow literally limitlessly over huge surface areas. They can grow in multiple types of materials and deep into structures. Over months and years, in the worst cases, they can even break down entire walls and ceilings!

In fact, contrary to the belief of many, and perhaps a point often missed by disinfection experts too, mold can grow on almost any material in Singapore. The details of how mold can present even on “non-organic” materials such as PVCS, plastic are beyond the scope of this article, but certain reasons include the existence of special yeasts, biofilms, and how easily materials break down in Singapore’s climate. To learn more, feel free to click on the links attached to our keywords aforementioned. If not, keep it in view and read on.

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What exactly is the mold growing in my house?

The exact name of mold and mildew is demystified here for houseowners. Yes, it pays to be educated on the common names of mold and mildew that are frequently encountered in your house! For the biologically-savvy, the taxonomic rank of these names are Genera. These 12 different yet similar types of household fungi are: Acremonium, Alternaria, Aspergillus, Aureobasidium, Chaetomium, Cladosporium, Fusarium, Mucor, Penicillium, Stachybotrys, Trichoderma, Ulocladium. Click here for a comprehensive list of details of the common household mold and mildew if you are a really really keen learner!

Whilst knowing the details of how each fungi type may present in terms of color, location of your house, and the effects of each may have on your health is impressive, it is dangerous to assume one can safely handle all mold problems by simply reading online articles. As a rule of thumb, always remember that the safest option when facing a mold infestation at home, is to go through an expert to avoid unnecessary danger to you and your family.

Stay safe and get a customized cleaning today. MEIDE is here to serve you.

Stay safe

To learn more about the hazards that mold and mildew pose to you, read on to our next article!