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The early stage of growth of any of several types of mold or fungi. Mildews cause a white to black downy and often smelly film on the surface of organic materials. The two most common species are Aspergillus glaucus and Penicillium glaucum. Mildew is most often found in warm, damp, dark areas and can often look like dirt. It excretes organic acids, such as citric, oxalic, gluconic, etc., that can damage the growth substrate. These acids can discolor dyed textiles, paper, paint and leather. Mildew can also produce colored bodies that stain materials. Mildew growth can be inhibited by fungicides or minimized by a clean environment that has sunlight, dry circulating air, and relatively low temperatures (Roberts and Etherington 1982).

Synonyms and Related Terms


Physical and Chemical Properties

A drop of bleach with discolor and kill mildew but does not affect dirt.

Resources and Citations

  • ASTM, "Standard Terminology Relating to Paint, Varnish, Lacquer and Related Products", Annual Book of ASTM Standards, Section 6, Paints, Related Coatings and Aromatics, ASTM, D16, 7-Jan, Jul-96
  • Hoechst Celanese Corporation, Dictionary of Fiber & Textile Technology (older version called Man-made Fiber and Textile Dictionary, 1965), Hoechst Celanese Corporation, Charlotte NC, 1990
  • Matt Roberts, Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: a Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1982
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • Mary-Lou Florian, Fungal Facts: solving fungal problems in heritage collections, Archetype, London, 2002
  • George Savage, Art and Antique Restorer's Handbook, Rockliff Publishing Corp, London, 1954