There is a Fungus Among Us!

Mold and Mildew have similar features and matching characteristics.

  • Both love moist warm areas where they can grow in your home.
  • They can grow on a variety of surfaces from food to the bathroom, to books and papers.

Summer is just beginning and we have had plenty of rain. If you have portions of your home that have not had sufficient air movement where humidity levels have been over 60% and temperatures over 70 degrees, you may have mold and/or mildew and not even know it. While mold prefers to grow in warmer temperatures, it can also grow in cooler temperatures, similar to the moldy foods you find in your refrigerator.  Here are a few tips on mildew and mold and how to get rid of both in your home.


Mildew is a common gray and white fungus and looks powdery. I found mildew while visiting my Mom’s farmhouse in middle Georgia one  summer. Everyone had been away for a few weeks, and the air conditioning was turned up to around 82 degrees. Since we experienced unprecedented rain that  summer, the conditions were perfect for mildew and mold to grow. My first hint that something was wrong was a musty smell. One of her chairs and cushions looked like someone sprinkled baby powder on them. As I looked closer, I also found mildew on other porous surfaces like books, and furniture. We set up a dehumidifier, turned the air conditioner down and scheduled an HVAC annual check up to make sure that the air conditioning system was working properly. Stopping the moist, damp environment is the first step to combating mildew and preventing its growth.

Mildew is a surface fungus that can be treated with a commercial cleaner. We purchased one that is Eco-friendly and wiped surfaces to get rid of the powdery mildew. Not fun, but we got the job done and the house smells great again!

Mold grows when humidity levels are over 60%


Mold is a common fungus that is found inside and outside, almost everywhere, year round. Mold loves warm temperatures and higher humidity levels over 60%. It travels through the air, attaches to porous surfaces, and can grow when moisture is present for an extended period of time. When these tiny mold spores settle, they can multiply quickly under the right conditions.

I stopped by AdvantaClean of Marietta to ask owner Justin Cox about mold and mildew and what homeowners can do about these common problems.

“The effect of mold can include the potential for structural damage to our home,” says Justin. “Mold problems and longstanding moisture or high humidity conditions go hand in hand. To conquer mold, you must also conquer moisture problems.”

Here in Atlanta, basements can be problematic. If you walk down to your basement and notice a musty, moldy smell, you can often find mold somewhere. “If moisture is trapped in the basement for long periods of time, a smell may arise,” says Justin. “If this happens, your home or business can be contaminated with mold.”

The experts at AdvantaClean suggest that we check for:

  • Poor Ventilation
  • Water Damage
  • Leaky pipes
  • Improper grading
  • Humidiy
  • Lack of air-conditioning

Get Rid of Mold before you Sell your home! 

When should a homeowner clean up the mold themselves, and when should they call in the experts? The EPA offers this advice: Consider the size of the mold problem. If the moldy area is less than about 10 square feet (less than roughly a 3 ft. by 3 ft. patch), in most cases, you can handle the job yourself. Larger spaces may require expert help.

If you are thinking of selling your home, be aware that not much scares a buyer away faster than hearing that a home has a mold problem.  So, if there are issues with moisture resulting in mold or even just a musty smell, tackle this head on before putting your home on the market.

Moisture and Mold Checklist

University of Georgia Extension Moisture and Mold Checklist

Lee Ann is a member of Women’s Council of Realtors – Cobb and Cobb Association of Realtors. She is a top producer with Dorsey Alston Realtors specializing in the East Cobb market.

Lee Ann Wynns | East Cobb Realtor® 

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