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Soap Scum vs. Mold vs. Mildew

Soap Scum vs. Mold vs. Mildew

We hear these terms passed around a lot, especially when it comes to keeping our homes clean. But what’s the difference between soap scum, mold, and mildew?

Well, the major difference between soap scum and mold and mildew is that soap scum is a mineral composition, and mold/mildew are organic, living organisms. This important distinction impacts how each invasive element spreads and can be treated.

Read on for more details on soap scum, mold, and mildew so you can prevent excessive buildup in your home.

Soap Scum

Soap scum is the result of mixing soap with hard water. Water hardness is judged by the mineral composition, with the higher hardness being classified as excess levels of magnesium and calcium.

Hard water causes a lot of issues, but the addition of soap creates a white substance that we know as soap scum. You’ll often see this in your bathroom left behind on fixtures, countertops, showers, and more.

Installing a water softener is a great way to avoid soap scum from building up in your tub and shower. Call Ostrom for water softener installation in the Roanoke area!


Mold can be a huge problem in the home because it can pose health risks when at certain levels, especially for those who are allergic. Mold is a live fungus that is usually black or green. According to the EPA, it’s nearly impossible to achieve a mold-less environment, as it is always circulating in the air. But reducing humidity and moisture is the best way to prevent mold growth.

Mold, in small amounts, can be safely cleaned and removed with household cleaners. For more pervasive issues, a professional mold remediation service may be required.


Mildew, another fungus, can be thought of as mold’s cousin since it shares some of the same properties. The major difference between mold and mildew is that mildew is white. Mildew, like mold, is attracted to warm, moist areas. As such, your bathroom is the ideal environment for mold and mildew growth.

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At Ostrom Electrical Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning, our aim is to give every customer the best experience possible. We offer a wide array of plumbing services, so call us today at (540) 685-4040 to learn more.

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