What is Mildew and How to Remove ItMost people know mildew as a generally bad substance that makes your wet clothes and towels smell bad. But few actually know what mildew is, how to prevent it, and how to fully remove it once it appears. So here is all you need to know about the interesting world of mildew.

What is Mildew?

According to dictionary.com, mildew is “a disease of plants, characterized by a cottony, usually whitish coating on the surface of affected parts, caused by any of various fungi.” Although mildew is often found on plants, it can also appear in dark, wet, spaces, on general organic matter like wood and paper, and on the north-facing sides of houses, especially if they are shaded by trees.

Are There Different Types of Mildew?

Yes, mildew is generally split into two categories: downy mildew and powdery mildew. Powdery mildew and downy mildew originate from different types of fungi, and harm different kinds of plants.

Is Mildew Mold?

No, the two are very similar but are not the same thing. Mildew and mold are different types of fungi, and can be differentiated by their color. Mildew is usually gray or white, while mold is typically black or green. Mold usually spreads faster than mildew and takes up more space. Mold can appear fuzzy or slimy, while on the other hand, mildew is usually just a discoloration.

Is Mildew Bad for My Health?

Yes, but not everyone is affected by mildew. If one is sensitive to mildew and frequently breathes it in, he or she can experience a runny nose, watery and/or itchy eyes, sneezing, wheezing, nasal congestion, coughing, and difficulty breathing. These respiratory issues can lead to a lung infection, which can cause organ failure or lung scarring. Other symptoms of mildew sensitivity include  skin rashes, headaches, fatigue, muscle aches and sensitivity to light,.

Does Bleach Kill Mold and Mildew?

Bleach will usually kill mold and mildew, depending on its type and quantity. If a homeowner allows mold or mildew to build up over a long stretch of time, it will be harder to clean.

To clean mildew off of a wall, concrete, or siding, follow three basic steps:

  1. Create a mix of bleach and water, usually around three units of water to one unit of bleach.
  2. Scrub the area with a stiff brush.
  3. After brushing thoroughly, rinse and dry the area.

If Bleach Does Not Work, How Can I Remove Mildew?

Mildew can be tough to remove, so if the usual cleaning agents prove ineffective, consult an expert. Outdoor mildew will usually occur after dirt builds up around outdoor surfaces, such as siding, decks, pools, or patios. For outdoor mildew removal, a thorough power washing will rid your house of that awful fungus. Choose high-pressure washing for harder, more durable surfaces and low-pressure washing for those lighter, less durable ones.