What is the Difference Between Black Mold and Mildew

The main difference between black mold and mildew is that black mold appears in black color, whereas mildew appears in white or gray color. Furthermore, black mold results in a much larger infestation while mildew results in patches. In addition to these, black mold grows underneath the surface, producing a fuzzy or slimy texture while mildew grows on the surface, producing a fluffy or powdery texture.  

Black mold and mildew are two types of mold and mold-like organisms. Generally, mold is a type of fungus that grows on the surface of moist and warm areas. 

Key Areas Covered 

1. What is Black Mold
     – Definition, Characteristics, Importance
2. What is Mildew
     – Definition, Characteristics, Importance
3. What are the Similarities Between Black Mold and Mildew
     – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Black Mold and Mildew
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms 

Asthma, Black Mold, Fungi, Mildew, Mycotoxins, Mold

What is the Difference Between Black Mold and Mildew - Comparison Summary

What is Black Mold 

Black mold (Stachybotrys chartarum) is a type of microfungus characterized by its significant greenish-black color. Generally, it grows on the soil and grain. However, it also grows on cellulose-rich building material, which is damp and warm. Moreover, black mold grows underneath the surface of the material. Its texture is slimy or fuzzy. In addition to these, black mold causes complete destruction of the entire structure used as the substrate.

Black Mold vs Mildew

Figure 1: Black Mold

Furthermore, black mold produces mycotoxins. Therefore, it is also called a toxic black mold. It can cause respiratory issues, heart problems, joint pain, migraines, fatigue, and depression.  It is also associated with sick building syndrome. Moreover, symptoms of mold allergy include congestion, sneezing, and irritation of the skin, throat, and eyes.  

What is Mildew 

Mildew is a type of filamentous fungi closely related to mold. It produces a thin, superficial growth, which appears in gray or whitish color. However, the texture is fluffy or powdery. Moreover, mildew grows on both living plants and decaying organic matter, including wood, paper, and leather. Also, they quickly grow in warm and moist places. 

Difference Between Black Mold and Mildew

Figure 2: Mildew

Most household items might end up with mildew when they are wet. For example, mildew grows ion the ceiling, walls, floors, and other places with a lot of humidity, such as bathrooms and kitchens. However, it does not cause lasting damage to the surfaces. Also, it does not cause serious health issues for people other than asthma.  

Similarities Between Black Mold and Mildew  

  • Black mold and mildew are two types of fungi that quickly grow in moist and warm places.  
  • Both of them are easily spread and difficult to remove.  
  • They are filamentous fungi with multiple nuclei.  
  • They cause structural damages to the surfaces where they grow.  
  • Moreover,  they produce distinct, offensive odors.  
  • In addition to these, both cause health problems, including asthma.  
  • They can be prevented by keeping moisture-free environments. 

Difference Between Black Mold and Mildew 

Definition 

Black mold refers to a greenish-black mold that grows on material with a high cellulose and low nitrogen content while mildew refers to a thin whitish coating, consisting of minute fungal hyphae, growing on plants and damp organic material. 

Taxonomy 

Furthermore, black mold is the microfungus Stachybotrys chartarum while mildew is either species of fungus in the order Erysiphales or fungus-like organisms in the family Peronosporaceae.  

Grow on 

Black mold grows in the soil or cellulose-rich building material while mildew grows on living plants and decaying organic matter, including wood, paper, and leather.  

Color 

While black mold appears in black color, mildew appears in gray or white color. 

Type of Spreading 

Black mold results in a much larger infestation while mildew results in patches. 

Texture 

Also, black mold grows underneath the surface, producing a fuzzy or slimy texture while mildew grows on the surface, producing a fluffy or powdery texture.  

Effects 

Black mold causes the complete destruction of the material, while mildew causes less harm to the material. 

Health Effects 

Black mold causes respiratory illness, nausea, fatigue, and allergies, while mildew can cause asthma. 

Eradication 

Moreover, black mold requires help from a specialist while the eradication of mildew can be easily removed with a special cleaner and a scrubbing brush. 

Conclusion 

Black mold is the type of mold that has a greenish-black color. It produces large infestation and causes complete destruction of the material on which they grow. Moreover, it causes serious health issues. On the other hand, mildew is a type of mold which appears in gray or whitish color. However, it grows in the surface of the substrate, making patches. Furthermore, it does not produce a highly significant health issue as well as destruction. Therefore, the main difference between black mold and mildew is the type of growth and importance. 

References:

1. “Mold Vs. Mildew: What’s the Difference?: Gold Eagle Co.” Gold Eagle, 26 Dec. 2018, Available Here.

Image Courtesy: 

1. “Indoor Mold” By Alexander Davronov – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia   
2. “Downy and Powdery mildew on grape leaf” By The original uploader was Agne27 at English Wikipedia. (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia  

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things

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