The difference between mold, fungi, and fungus

If you live in a hot and humid region, you would have seen the patchwork created by these microorganisms on the walls of your bathrooms, bathtubs, kitchen sinks etc. We refer to everything as mold as most of us do not know the difference. In this article, we will unearth the differences between mold, fungi, and fungus.


They not only look ugly, but are harmful to your home and family. They can evolve when you have wet or moist air in your home. If you take a shower, it is important that you ventilate the bathroom by opening a window or by turning the fan on. This will ensure that there is no formation of mold or fungus. Mold can also form in other moist places such as cooling fans (the types that use water to be sprinkled), humidifiers, or any other gadget that stores water. We need to ensure that these gadgets receive regular cleaning to remove these microorganisms.

The difference between mold, fungi, and fungus

Fungi are the plural of fungus. Mold belongs to a wider group of fungi. Mold is a multicellular, filamentous fungus, which means that it comprises of more cells in its body. However, being a filamentous micro-organism, its cells are not separated following cell division. Hence, mold tends to grow in the form of filaments, and like most other micro-organisms, they too love to grow in moist and warm places.

There are a lot of types of fungi and they can sometimes appear together. Often a lab test is needed to determine what type of fungi you have. Mildew is less bad than mold. Some types of mold can be really dangerous. Some experts specialize in recognizing the type of fungi you have in your home. Each location has unique types.

The presence of multicellular filaments called hyphae makes molds different from unicellular yeasts or macroscopic mushrooms. Since mushrooms are visible to the naked eye and they have multiple cells, we often forget that they too are a type of fungus. However, in molds, when the network is formed by hyphae, it is visible to the naked eye. That’s why we can see patches of mold in our bathrooms and near all other damp areas at home and in other establishments.

Mold creates a cottony growth often on the organic substances. If you would have left food items in your refrigerator for a long time, you will see green or black growth, which is primarily mold.

Example of mold on the wall. Mold can appear in a lot of locations in your home. Image by PlumbingInstantFix. All rights reserved.

Molds, mushrooms, and yeast are three types of fungus, and mushrooms are not microorganisms. Hence, we can see them with our naked eyes, and hence they are macroscopic.

A fungus, on the other hand, is a unicellular or multicellular organism. That means it can either have one cell, or multiple cells in its body, and the cells are separated by a chitin cell wall.

More facts about Fungus

Fungi are eukaryotic organisms which means they engulf bacteria cells. They absorb organic matter from other microorganisms in order to survive. They cannot produce their own food and hence they acquire their food and from other decaying matter, plants or animals.

Fungi are aerobic in nature, which means that they can survive in an oxygenated environment. Most of the fungi are aerobic; however, scientists have found anaerobic fungi in freshwater lakes, landfill sites, and deep-sea sediments.

How do fungi survive?

Fungi release specific enzymes through their cell wall and then absorb the nutrients from the organic macromolecules of other organisms. This process occurs in the extracellular environment, and normally oxygen aids the process.

However, some anaerobic fungi are capable of living without oxygen. This means that they can live in a lot of situations.

Getting rid of fungi and mold in your house is, therefore, a hard problem, and mold remediation can take quite a lot of work as it comes back if it is not completely removed.

How do fungi spread?

Fungi can spread through several methods. This makes it hard to stop if there is enough moist air and food. This is the reason why it is essential that you treat it as soon as possible. Sometimes people think that it will go away on its own but this is often not the case.

Cleaning areas where mold is active is essential. You also have to make sure that the air is not too moist. This can be done with a sensor that indicates that the air has enough water but not too much. As soon as you smell or see that mold or fungi are present in your home, you should take action. The first step is to examine where the mold is and clean this area. You might need lab test to check what type of mold it is so that you know how to clean it. Furthermore, you have to find the cause of it. Often it is a lack of ventilation. Your plumber can often offer suggestions and solutions for this problem.

Unlike in the animal kingdom, the process of spreading is not complex, and there is no laying of eggs like in birds, amphibians, and even smaller insects. Unlike insects, they don’t follow the process of eggs, larva, pupa, and adult.


So it doesn’t matter whether it’s mold or fungus, you need to keep a close eye on the moist areas of your home to ensure they do not grow. Hydrogen peroxide is effective in killing them. Mold is a type of fungus. There are other fungi that grow in nature.

Ozone generators are sometimes used to clean up mold inside a house. This requires a lot of work to set it up but can remove the mold quite fast. Mold can grow in small spaces and the ozone generator can help to get it removed from these areas.

Mold and fungi can be annoying to have in your home as they can damage items or be even dangerous for yourself as well. For this reason, it is important that you take action when you see signs of mold in your home. A moisture meter can help you to avoid fungi in your home. Ventilation is another critical element of this.


Difference Between Mold and Fungus