How to Get Mold Out of Your Carpet
Removing Carpet Mold
While lovely and appropriate for certain rooms, carpets can be magnets for mold. A splash of water that goes unnoticed, a pet having an accident in the corner that wasn’t cleaned quite well enough...any moisture that remains in the carpet can breed mold within just a few days.
Carpet mold can be identified by a musty smell, or can sometimes even be visible as a patch of grey, white, or green. Untreated carpet mold can cause respiratory symptoms ranging from allergies to chronic bronchitis. It can also exacerbate symptoms in people with chronic respiratory problems like asthma.
The bottom line is, for health and home aesthetic, carpet mold must be removed quickly. There are several ways that this can be done, depending on the size of the area. If the area is large (say over more than 5 foot area), it’s best to have a professional do the job. With that much damage, it’s very likely that it has invaded all the underflooring and will be a difficult prospect to tackle alone. Not to mention that you want it done thoroughly, to ensure that the mold is completely eradicated.
If the area is small enough to treat on your own, do the following:
- Ventilate the area. Before anything else, open all the windows or ideally treat the carpet outside. Use protection when tackling mold: don rubber gloves, a face mask, and eye protection before starting treatment.
- Lift up the carpet to check the backing. If there is mold growth present on more than a few feet of the carpet backing, this section needs to be replaced, rather than cleaned. You may cut out and replace the piece that is affected if you can’t afford to recarpet the entire room.
- If the carpet is removable, you may hang it over a clothesline outdoors for several days. Direct sunlight should kill the mold spores. If not, move on to using an anti mold treatment spray. These can be purchased at most department stores or home repair centers. Check the label to make sure that the product is made for use on carpets, to avoid potential staining.
- To prep the carpet, use a dry bristle brush on both the front and back of the carpet to remove visible mold spores. Do not use a vacuum (this can spread them into the air and to other parts of the house) but brush them into a dustpan and discard them carefully into the trash.
- Take your anti-fungal spray and saturate the affected area of the carpet (and a good section around it) both top and bottom. Also spray the floor underneath the carpet. Allow to soak for about an hour.
- Use a clean, dry, disposable rag to blot the area. Then allow the carpet to dry naturally (do not use fans as this can blow possibly live spores to other locations). Keep foot traffic away from the treated area for at least 24 hours while the carpet dries. You may keep windows open or run a dehumidifier to help the carpet area dry more quickly.
- Repeat the last two steps once the carpet has dried. Allow it to dry thoroughly again. The carpet should be free of mold after the second run has dried.
- After treating a significant mold issue in the home, rent a HEPA vacuum or filter to remove any remaining mold spores from the space.
Risks of Carpet Mold
Carpet mold is something that you don’t want present in your home. It is not only unpleasant, causing musty odors and stains on your carpet, but it can undermine your health as well. This goes double for people with asthma or respiratory disorders. Chances of symptoms increase if the mold is especially heavy or spread over a large area.
Mold can cause frequent respiratory symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, headaches, skin rashes (especially in children who may spend more time laying on it), and even weakened immunity. Mold can even degrade the carpet itself over time, and lead to costly repairs if not treated quickly.
How to Prevent Carpet Mold
Carpet mold is caused by sitting moisture. To prevent mold buildup on your carpets, identify possible moisture sources. For cases of groundwater seepage, or damp crawl spaces and subfloors, you may need to get a professional to treat the problem. However, there are also some common sense prevention rules to follow.
- Monitor pets. If you have a pet who has a chronic issue relieving themselves on the floor, speak to a vet about any underlying health problems or a deterrent spray. Make sure that you thoroughly clean and dry any pet accident promptly.
- Be careful with houseplants. Do not set house plants directly onto a carpeted floor. Water seeps out of the bottom of pots, and can create a damp spot that is the perfect spot for mold build up. Place plants on plant stands.
- If you live in a particularly humid area, purchase a dehumidifier to control moisture.
- Increase ventilation in the house. If possible, leave windows open for a couple of hours a day, or run a fan. Keep air circulating.
- Use a HEPA filter. A High Efficiency Particulate Air filter can keep the air of the home clear of harmful particulates, including any stray mold spores.
- Vacuum all carpets regularly. Among dust and other particulates, mold spores can linger deep in the carpet nap.
- Clean up all spills immediately. Never allow any liquid to sit on the carpet, but clean and dry thoroughly. Mold can build up within just a couple of days.
- Keep home temperatures low. Mold thrives in temperatures around 80 or higher.
- Keep the home well lit. Mold loves the dark, and UV lights can kill mold and inhibit growth.
Mold is an unsightly and ultimately unhealthy problem, but by using common sense prevention and treating any affected area quickly and thoroughly, you can prevent any long term damage to the carpet and home.