Mold and mildew are loose terms that describe types of fungi. Fungi is a giant group or “Kingdom” of living species that are neither plants nor animals. Mildew usually refers to fungi in the Order Erysiphales or fungus-like organisms in the Family Peronosporaceae. Mildew is usually white or grey. Mold is a much wider category encompassing fungi that is from many different Orders and occurs in many different colors. Some molds are good for us and are used in the manufacture of foods and medicines. Other molds can cause a host of serious medical problems for us. Using the term “mold” implies a more serious problem than “mildew” which implies a less serious surface issue.
Existing Mold and Mildew
If you have mold or mildew already, the rule of thumb is if the mold or mildew covers more than one square meter, don’t try to clean it yourself—hire a professional in mold remediation. There are important reasons for this. Once you start cleaning up mold or mildew, millions of fungal spores are released into the air. You can make a bad problem a much worse problem if you don’t know what you’re doing. Similarly, if you’re not sure how bad your problem is, consult a professional.
If you have only a tiny bit of mold or mildew, and you want to clean it yourself, then wear a respirator and use hot water and bleach. Make sure there is good ventilation because you want the freshly cleaned area to dry thoroughly. Wet or damp areas contribute to a mold or mildew problem.
Identifying a Mold or Mildew Problem
When there is a history of mold or mildew, special flooring can help prevent an ongoing problem. First, make sure that any previous mold or mildew is gone—with the help of professionals if necessary.
Not sure how bad your problem is? When in doubt, consult a mold professional. The tell-tale signs are lots of flooring discoloration, obvious fungal filaments if you look closely, and/or an odor that won’t go away.
The bad news is if you have a lot of mold in or under existing flooring, the flooring probably cannot be saved but will need to be disposed of. The good news is once you know you’ve had a previous problem, it’s easier to prevent a future problem. In the next article, we’ll tell you how to prevent a future mold or mildew problem with your flooring.
This article is the first of two parts. Stay tuned for part two.
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