How Much Do You Know about Indoor Mold and Mildew?
Think you know mold and mildew? Take the quiz!
- True or false? The terms mold and mildew refer to two different kinds of organisms.
FALSE. Mildew is just the early form of mold growth. Both mold and mildew are a kind of microscopic fungus that likes to grow on damp surfaces. Places where mold and mildew often appear include bathrooms, basements, drywall, and fabric (FEMA, n.d.).
- True or false? Mold and mildew aren’t common problems during the winter because it’s too cold for them to grow.
FALSE. While it is true that mold and mildew thrive in warm, humid places (Harrison, Cantrell, and Griffin 2014), the cold weather outside doesn’t necessarily stop mold and mildew from developing inside. In fact, winter can cause some moisture problems in your home you may not encounter during the warmer months. This is because when warm air comes in contact with a cold surface—for example, when the heated air inside your home meets a cold window—the water vapor in the warmer air condenses into liquid water. This is why you may notice that your windows are fogged up or wet on a cold morning. Places in your home where warm, humid air meets cold surfaces are most susceptible to mold and mildew growth (EPA 2015).
- True or false? In the right conditions, mold and mildew can begin growing very quickly.
TRUE. According to FEMA and the EPA (2014), mold and mildew spores can start growing on damp surfaces in as little as twenty-four to forty-eight hours. This is why keeping moisture-prone surfaces dry is crucial in preventing mold and mildew from taking hold.
For additional resources on mold and mildew prevention and treatment, see
- Keeping It Clean: Controlling Mildew
- A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home (EPA)
- Dealing with Mold and Mildew in Your Flood Damaged Home (FEMA)
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). n.d. Dealing with Mold and Mildew in Your Flood Damaged Home. Accessed December 9, 2015. https://www.fema.gov/pdf/rebuild/recover/fema_mold_brochure_english.pdf
Harrison, Mary N., Randall A. Cantrell, and Amanda Griffin. 2014. Keeping It Clean: Controlling Mildew. FSC5232-11. Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Accessed December 9, 2015. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fy796
US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 2014. A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home. Accessed December 9, 2015. http://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-08/documents/moldguide.pdf
US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 2015. Appendix C: Moisture, Mold and Mildew. Accessed December 9, 2015. http://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-09/documents/appenc.pdf
Photo credit: Whitestorm/iStock/Thinkstock
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