Question? Just ask us!
Free Encyclopedia of Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, Repair
MOLD: A COMPLETE GUIDE to TEST CLEAN PREVENT
AIR CLEANER PURIFIER TYPES
AIR FILTERS for HVAC SYSTEMS
AIR POLLUTANTS, COMMON INDOOR
AIR QUALITY IMPROVEMENT STRATEGIES
ALLERGEN TESTS for BUILDINGS
ANIMAL ALLERGENS / PET DANDER
ANIMAL or URINE ODOR SOURCE DETECTION S
ATTORNEYS and EXPERT WITNESSES
BIBLIOGAPHY ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH, MOLD, IAQ
CAR MOLD CONTAMINATION
CARPET DUST IDENTIFICATION
CARPET MOLD CONTAMINATION
CAT DANDER in BUILDINGS
COMBUSTION GASES & PARTICLE HAZARDS
CONDENSATION or SWEATING PIPES, TANKS
CPSC Indoor Air Pollution Book Online Copy
DUCT SYSTEM & DUCT DEFECTS
EMERGENCY RESPONSE, IAQ, GAS, MOLD
FLOOD DAMAGE ASSESSMENT, SAFETY & CLEANUP
FLOODS IN BUILDINGS-mold
GAS EXPOSURE EFFECTS, TOXIC
HUMIDITY CONTROL & TARGETS INDOORS
HOUSE DUST ANALYSIS
HOUSE DUST COMPONENTS
INDOOR AIR QUALITY IMPROVEMENT GUIDE
MILDEW REMOVAL & PREVENTION
MOISTURE CONTROL in BUILDINGS
MOLD GROWTH on SURFACES, TABLE OF
MYCOPHOBIA, STAINS MISTAKEN for MOLD
NOISE / SOUND DIAGNOSIS & CURE
ODORS GASES SMELLS, DIAGNOSIS & CURES
OZONE for MOLD OR ODORS
RADON HAZARD TESTS & MITIGATION
SAFETY HAZARDS GUIDE
SICK HOUSE IAQ QUESTIONNAIRE
SMELL PATCH TEST to Track Down Odors
STAIN DIAGNOSIS on BUILDING INTERIORS
VENTILATION in BUILDINGS
Mildew mistakes: this article discusses how to recognize building mold and how to know that indoors, it's not mildew. We include photographs of a variety of white and green mold growths on clothing, leather, artworks, baskets and building surfaces - all examples of light colored molds that are not mildew (and that are potentially more harmful). This article describes building mold (black mold, green mold, yellow mold, gray mold, and white mold) that is often mistaken for mildew. At Distinction between "mold" and "mildew" on books we discuss more aspects of the difference between mildew and other molds, and why that difference matters.
Also see the photos at MILDEW in buildings ? and see MILDEW REMOVAL & PREVENTION (what to do about mildew). Readers who need to cure or prevent efflorescence, mold or "mildew" in buildings should see STAIN DIAGNOSIS on BUILDING INTERIORS, and MOISTURE CONTROL in buildings as well as HUMIDITY LEVEL TARGET also VENTILATION in BUILDINGS and WATER ENTRY in buildings.
Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2014 InspectApedia.com, All Rights Reserved.
Photographs of Mold Found on or In buildings, Building Contents, Clothing, Baskets, & Artworks: Molds that are Sometimes Mistaken for Mildew
Here are photographs of mold on building exteriors, interiors, or building contents. At this website, other photos of mold on indoor building surfaces may help you recognize mold in buildings, recognize probably-cosmetic mold, and recognize stuff that is not mold and does not need to be tested.
Often an inexperienced mold inspector or consumer may refer to these molds incorrectly as "mildew". There are mold genera or species that can grow on a remarkably wide range of organic materials that are found both outdoors and inside, and that can appear in an wide range of colors (black, brown, red, green, gray, white, orange, tan, yellow, for example) and textures.
As we discuss in this article series, mildew, a sub-class of molds, is an obligate parasite that grows only on living plants, and is generally white in appearance. Our page top photograph a severe basement mold contamination in a flooded home found in Poughkeepsie, New York.
More photographs of mold that is often mistaken for or mis-named "mildew" are included in this article and links provide articles that correctly identify mildew as well as explain the difference between mildew and mold.
Carpet mildew diagnosis: carpeting that has light mold or smells like mold might be described by an inexperienced inspector or a building owner as mildewed carpeting. If your carpeting smells like "mildew" or "mold" it 's probably moldy whether you can see the mold or not by simple visual inspection. See CARPET MOLD CONTAMINATION for details.
Carpet odors: carpeting that smells can be caused by a wide range of problems. See ODORS GASES SMELLS, DIAGNOSIS & CURE
Carpet stains: can also be caused by a wide range of sources, some of which are harmless, others may diagnose other building problems such as a heating system that is not working properly, or building air leaks. See CARPET STAIN DIAGNOSIS.
Mold on works of art: We define "mildew" stains on or in paint at Mildew in paint. In support of museum conservators we have also identified mold growth on as well as in paint in works of art. Mildew is not found on art works.
Our photograph of a painting being examined for contaminants was provided courtesy of museum conservator Ulrik Runeberg, Puerto Rico Art Museum during a joint forensic investigation.
Mold on painted building surfaces or furnishings: We define "mildew" stains on or in paint at Mildew in paint. Look closely at our peeling paint photograph at above left and you can see some black mold on the back surface of an old layer of exterior paint exposed by our peel-back of blistered paint on a wood clapboard wall. More black mold is visible on the exposed wood surface too.
Our micro-photograph of a cross-section cut moldy paint (below right) shows black mold growth inside the layer of paint sampled from a surface. It's mold, not mildew. Our high-resolution microscope photograph (below) of mold found on exterior wall paint confirms that this is a mitosporic fungi, not mildew.
A closeup microscopic photo of mold found on building wall paint is shown at left.
Our high-resolution microscope photograph (above left) of mold found on exterior wall paint confirms that this is a mitosporic fungi, not mildew.
Mold or algae on roofs: We discuss stains mistaken for mildew on building roofs at Catalog of Black Roof Stains.
Mold on a Leather Jacket or on Clothing
In our forensic lab we confirmed that this "mildewed" leather jacket was actually contaminated with Aspergillus versicolor - it was moldy, not mildewed even though the owner naturally used that term to describe the odor.
Clothing that smells like "mildew" is moldy and can usually be restored by laundering or dry-cleaning. Leather garments need to be cleaned by a leather cleaning professional.
Mold on a Woven Laundry Basket
This "mildewed" laundry basket found in Mexico was mold-contaminated but although the basket was made of plant material, this black mold was not mildew. (Samples are on hand for further laboratory analysis.)
Interestingly the mold grew only on the basket fiber interior surfaces - a side of the plant material that was exposed after the basket reed material was first hand-split for weaving. The harder exterior surface of this bamboo-like plant material did not show much mold growth.
Even using bleach solution (plastic bowl at upper left) we were unable to successfully clean this moldy laundry basket - it was passed on to the trash truck along with other building basura.
Green "Mildew" Reported on Basement Ceiling
This green "mildew" on basement surfaces was confirmed to be mostly Aspergillus sp. mold.
The white, gray, and green "mildew" found on the underside of this building subflooring and on the floor joists was confirmed in our forensic laboratory as not "basement mildew" but rather a mixture of mostly Aspergillus sp. and some Penicillium sp. molds.
We also often find Trichoderma sp. (another green mold) on wooden subfloors and framing over wet or damp basements or crawl spaces.
Green and gray molds on building surfaces are often mistaken for mildew.
White mold in buildings that is not mildew is very common, found for example on wood surfaces, both painted and raw wood. Our photograph (left) shows white mold on an interior basement door.
Often we find white or light gray Aspergillus sp. or Penicillium sp. molds on these surfaces, but there are numerous other light colored or white indoor molds that may be present.
White Stuff that is Niether Mildew nor Mold
Other examples of white mold found in buildings that is often mistakenly called "mildew" can be seen at WHITE MOLD PHOTOS.
White stuff that is not mold is also not mildew: Beware: many people mistake mineral salts or efflorescence for white mold or mildew.
Efflorescence is a white crystalline salt left on masonry surfaces where water or moisture have been evaporating.
See STUFF THAT IS NOT MOLD for photos of white fluffy material or white crystalline material that is often mistaken for mold.
See MOLD APPEARANCE - WHAT MOLD LOOKS LIKE for a photo-guide to indoor molds - real mold or fungal growth in buildings. None of these will be mildew - a plant mold that is an obligate parasite - mildew only grows on living plants.In general, mold is a term encompassing a very wide family of organisms (the Fifth Kingdom) that includes more than a million and a half species. Lots of molds grow on lots of different organic substances, under a variety of conditions of light and temperature, but all molds require moisture and something organic on which to grow (paper, wood, paint, cloth, leather, plastic, etc.).
Also see Mold spores in the Home - a Photo ID Library for detection and identification of mold allergens on indoor building surfaces. Readers who need to cure or prevent efflorescence, mold or "mildew" in buildings should see STAIN DIAGNOSIS on BUILDING INTERIORS, and MOISTURE CONTROL in buildings as well as HUMIDITY LEVEL TARGET also VENTILATION in BUILDINGS and WATER ENTRY in buildings.
Green link shows where you are in this article series.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
No FAQs have been posted for this page. Try the search box below or CONTACT US by email if you cannot find the answer you need at InspectApedia.
Questions & answers or comments about mildew and mildew odors in buildings and on building surfaces - is it really mildew? Probably not.
Check the FAQs just above, try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.
Search the InspectApedia website
HTML Comment Box is loading comments...
Technical Reviewers & References
Related Topics, found near the top of this page suggest articles closely related to this one.