Both mold and mildew are types of fungus common in humid climates, like Hawaiʻi. Unaddressed, mold can be hazardous to one’s health whereas mildew is not considered hazardous. It is important to know the difference between mold and mildew and how to address both.
The difference between mold and mildew
Here is what is generally advised to look for when investigating.
- Mold is a type of fungus that appears as fuzzy, slimy and/or patchy growths that are white, green, brown or black in color.
- Mold may be found on any organic matter that stays wet for more than 24 hours including furniture, carpet, clothing, leather, paper and the ceilings, walls and floors of structures with moisture problems.
- Mold produces a strong musty smell, a key indicator
- Mildew is also a type of fungus that typically appears as a powdery or downy substance that is usually white or gray in color.
- Mildew typically grows in damp and humid areas and is often found on shower walls, windowsills, and other places where moisture levels are high such as air conditioners.
- Mildew can also produce a musty odor but not nearly as strong as mold.
What to do if you suspect mold
If you think you may have mold in your room or bathroom, it may be cleaned using vinegar or it may be cleaned using a solution of 1 tablespoon of bleach and 1 cup of water. If the mold appears to be the result of a leak, please report immediately (contact information is below).
If you think there is mold in common areas of our facilities or have other concerns about suspected mold in your living space, please submit a service request at https://resnet.hawaii.edu/pilikia/.
Mildew cleaning and prevention
Mildew can be easily cleaned by scrubbing the surface using a brush with vinegar, a household cleaner, or bleach; remaining discoloration might be removed using a mildew remover spray. Since mildew grows in damp areas, keep areas dry and well ventilated. Please know that some areas that appear grayish even after cleaning, such as grout and caulking between tiles, may simply be stained.
Student resident responsibility
Please remember that the cleaning of living areas is the responsibility of the assigned occupants. Since housekeeping services are not provided within resident rooms, it is important for our student residents to regularly clean their living spaces.
If you have any concerns about the condition of your room, please do not hesitate to submit a service request at https://resnet.hawaii.edu/pilikia/. If you need additional assistance Monday – Friday between 8am – 4pm, please contact (808) 956-8177. For assistance after 4pm and on weekends and holidays, please contact your area community desk or your halls RA on-call; or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here to help and will work with you to address any issues that you may have.