Mold can be a serious problem if it starts growing in your carpet. Not only is it unsightly, but it can also cause health issues if inhaled and allowed to spread. That’s why it’s important to know how to effectively remove mold from carpet as soon as it appears.
In this guide, we’ll outline the step-by-step process for getting rid of mold in carpet, as well as provide tips for preventing future mold growth.
What Causes Mold to Grow in Carpet?
Mold is a type of fungus that thrives in damp, humid environments. It spreads through tiny spores that land on surfaces and begin growing when they find suitable conditions.
Carpet is prone to mold growth because it easily absorbs and retains moisture. Situations that can lead to moldy carpet include:
- Flooding or water leaks
- High humidity levels in a room
- Spills that aren’t dried quickly
- Pet accidents
- Constant dampness from rain or snow being tracked indoors
If the carpet stays wet for more than 24-48 hours, it provides the perfect breeding ground for mold. The musty smell associated with mold will become noticeable as the mold spreads and releases spores into the air.
Dangers of Mold in Carpet
Mold growing in your carpet is more than just an unsightly nuisance. It can also be a health hazard, especially for people with allergies or asthma.
- Allergic reactions – Inhaling the spores can cause allergy symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, rashes, and other irritations.
- Asthma attacks – Mold spores and particles may trigger asthma attacks or difficulty breathing in sensitive individuals.
- Respiratory problems – Toxins from certain mold species can irritate the lungs and airways or even cause infections. Long-term exposure has been linked to chronic coughs, pneumonia, and reduced lung function.
- Spread of mold – If left unchecked, mold will continue spreading across carpet fibers and into padding, subfloor, and walls. This can lead to serious and expensive mold infestations.
That’s why it’s crucial to promptly remove any mold you find in carpet before it becomes a larger issue.
How to Clean Mold from Carpet
Cleaning mold from carpet should involve killing the mold, removing the stain, and taking steps to prevent regrowth. Here is a simple mold removal process to follow:
Step 1: Suit Up for Safety
Before tackling mold, put on protective gear like gloves, goggles, and a respirator mask rated for use around mold. This will prevent accidentally inhaling or touching mold spores while you work. Open windows in the area to ventilation.
Step 2: Kill and Contain the Mold
Mix up an all-natural mold killing solution of equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Generously spray the moldy areas until fully saturated. The high acidity of the vinegar will help kill mold and stop additional growth.
Let it sit for at least one hour. For heavier mold growth, sprinkle baking soda directly on the mold and let sit overnight before vacuuming. The baking soda provides extra power to kill mold spores and halt spread.
Step 3: Remove the Mold Stain
Once mold is dead, it’s time to focus on cosmetic removal of the stain. There are a few options here depending on the severity:
- Surface mold stains – Use a stiff scrub brush and hot water with dish soap to scrub at the stain. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and allow the carpet to fully dry before assessing if the stain is gone.
- Set-in stains – Rent a commercial carpet steam cleaner to penetrate deeper into carpet fibers and padding. The hot steam helps release mold stains and sanitize.
- Heavy growth – Unfortunately, extensive mold damage may require cutting out and replacing portions of carpet and padding. Any remaining mold deep inside carpet can quickly regrow if not eliminated.
Step 4: Disinfect and Deodorize
After removing visible mold, kill any remaining spores with an enzymatic cleaner. Look for pet odor eliminators that contain enzymes scientifically formulated to digest mold, bacteria, and mildew and render them inert.
Follow product instructions for best results. This prevents future mold colonies from forming in the carpet backing or padding.
Finish by sprinkling more baking soda over the entire mold affected area. Let sit for a few hours before vacuuming up. The baking soda absorbs lingering musty odors from mold and mildew.
Step 5: Dry the Carpet
The last critical step is allowing the carpet to completely dry. Use fans and dehumidifiers to speed drying. Keep humidity low and continue ventilating the area.
If needed, pull up and elevate damp carpet to expose the underside. Any remaining moisture invites mold to return. Only re-lay carpet once the subfloor and backing pass the plastic sheet test for dryness.
Tips for Preventing Mold Growth in Carpet
While cleaning up existing carpet mold, also evaluate what allowed the mold to develop so you can stop it in the future:
- Maintain low indoor humidity below 50 percent. Get a hygrometer and dehumidifier if needed.
- Make sure carpet dries within 24 hours after any spills or flooding. Soak up excess moisture immediately.
- Use carpet mold inhibitors and mold killing products preventatively in damp basements or crawlspaces prone to mold.
- Get rain gutters installed to direct water away from the house foundation.
- Clean carpets regularly to prevent mold spores from settling in.
- Address leaks, floods, and excess moisture issues promptly.
- Ensure proper airflow under carpets and ventilation in rooms.
With vigilance and swift action, you can keep your carpets free of hazardous mold and mildew. Follow these best practices for mold prevention and removal. But if the mold keeps returning or covers large areas, it may be time to replace affected carpet and padding to protect your indoor air quality.
Common Questions About Removing Mold from Carpet
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about eliminating mold growth in carpets:
Can I just use bleach to clean carpet mold?
Bleach will kill mold, but it’s not recommended for carpets because it can discolor or damage the fibers. An enzymatic cleaner specifically formulated for mold is safer and more effective.
How do I know if there’s mold under my carpet?
Signs of subfloor mold include a strong musty odor, moisture seeping up from below, mold visible at carpet edges, crumbling or soft tack strips, and carpet that remains wet for over 48 hours. Lifting up carpet edges can confirm the presence of mold underneath.
Should I hire a professional carpet cleaner for mold removal?
For minor surface mold, DIY methods may suffice. But for heavy growth inside padding or extensive damage, using professional carpet cleaners with truck-mounted steam cleaners and mold remediation training can better eliminate all mold and prevent regrowth.
Does moldy carpet need to be replaced?
Not always. If you catch and remove mold early before it spreads, the carpet can usually be saved with proper cleaning and drying. But recurring mold issues or contamination deep in padding may necessitate replacing sections of or the entire moldy carpet.
What kills mold spores in carpet?
A combination of vinegar, baking soda, enzymatic cleaners, steam cleaning, and drying starves and kills mold spores in carpet fibers, padding, and backing. Preventative sprays also help neutralize spores before they grow. These methods both kill live mold and prevent new mold growth.
Mold needs moisture to thrive, so prompt carpet drying and fixing dampness issues is key to control mold growth. With the right supplies and techniques, removing minor mold from your carpets on your own is very doable. But if mold persists despite your best efforts, call in professional carpet cleaners trained in mold remediation.
Take mold in carpet seriously before health complications arise or it spreads out of control. Follow these guidelines to safely, effectively detect and eliminate mold from your carpets. Contact a professional mold remediation company when unsure of what to do!