Even though these words are often used interchangeably, they are not exactly the same. However, they both have one thing in common… “fungus”.
Mildew is a mold, which also includes other micro organisms including fungi, yeasts, bacteria, rusts and algae. They can exist on virtually any organic material.
Mildew is more often gray, white and powdery. It often thrives on surfaces with high moisture content, including ceilings, walls, showers, bathtubs, sinks, toilets, leather and paper. There is a certain type of mildew that is found on wool carpets and rugs.
Mold is usually blue, green red and black and can be fuzzy or slimy.
Both can be odorless and invisible and can spread by sending out huge amounts of spores that are always present in the air. The spores need moisture to germinate, thus will remain in the air as dormant particles until it finds moisture.
Another thing mold and mildew have in common is that they both propagate in dark, damp, humid and badly ventilated environments. Something else to note is that mold & mildew can escalate asthma and allergies, which is why you want to have your rugs cleaned if you suspect a problem.
Your humidity should be kept below 65% to prevent spore germination. Correct humidity and temperature control can decrease the likelihood of germination, thus reducing the chance of mold and mildew.
At The Rug Wash, we use a variety of special organic cleaning agents to release the mold and mildew from your rugs. Please make sure you mention that you suspect mold and mildew in the rug in our intake form or if you contact us by phone.
If you believe your rug has dry rot, it may NOT be possible to remove, as that usually involves the deterioration of the rug’s foundation fibers. This is usually only likely from flood damage, or pet urine that has sat too long.
Also, if your rug has been improperly cleaned by incorrect cleaning products, this can dry out the fibers of the foundation and also create rot.