If you're not sure what that spot in the shower or on your wall is or if you suspect something in your home might be making you sick, you'll want to figure out whether you're dealing with mold or mildew so you know how best to clean it up and whether you need to seek the help of a professional mold removal company.
While mold and mildew can look similar at a glance, you'll usually be able to tell the difference upon closer inspection. Mildew usually looks gray or white and shows up in warm, moist areas. It often has a powdery appearance.
Mold can take on a wider range of colors, from different shades of green and brown to black. Mold typically appears fuzzy or slimy as well, and it can even cause surfaces to rot. While mold can easily grow in damp areas just like mildew, you can find it almost anywhere depending on the type of mold you're dealing with, including on walls, paper products or even in carpeting and mattresses.
Mildew may be icky, but it's pretty easy to clean up. A bristled scrub brush, a store-bought surface cleaner and a little elbow grease is all you need for most mildew spots. Using a squeegee on your shower walls and door and running your bathroom fan to keep humidity to a minimum can help prevent the nasty stuff.
Cleaning up mold well enough to prevent it from continuing to spread can be difficult, and if you see mold on surfaces, chances are there's more of the stuff hiding in areas you can't easily see or access. This is why it's often worth the cost to hire a mold remediation company to make sure all traces of the dangerous fungus are gone.
If you want to try it yourself, you'll need a heavy duty biocide and a disinfectant to kill the surface mold and spores. Protecting your skin and eyes is crucial during the clean-up process. You'll need to discard any surfaces you can't thoroughly clean. This usually means affected soft materials, like carpets, are best thrown away. Any mold-affected areas must also be dried out completely. Depending on where you're cleaning it up, you may need to rent or borrow a large, high-speed fan to make sure everything is dry.
If you're unsure if what you're dealing with is mold or not, it's best to call a professional mold removal company to test for mold and recommend the best removal solution if they find any.