Do you have carpet mold? That is a definite problem and one that must be dealt with carefully. Please don’t assume that you can just rent a steam cleaner and remove mold from carpet. Not only will it not get mold out of carpet but it will also give it more moisture to flourish in. Super bad combo am I right?
Carpeting is an area of the home that can be at high risk for mold growth. In order to grow, mold needs moisture, oxygen, a food source, and a surface to grow on. Mold spores are commonly found naturally in the air. If spores land on a wet or damp spot indoors that contains dust for them to feed on, mold growth will soon follow.
Wall-to-wall carpeting, as well as area rugs, can provide an ample breeding ground for mold if conditions are right. At especially high risk for mold growth are carpeting located below ground level in basements, carpet in bathrooms and kitchens, carpet in commonly moist or damp climates, and carpet that has been wet for any period of time.
How To Identify Mold In Carpet
Just because mold is not immediately apparent or visible on a carpet’s surface does not mean that mold growth is not in progress. In fact, mold will probably only be visible on the surface of carpets in unusually severe cases of growth, such as carpet damaged in flooding that has remained wet for some time.
The following are some examples of identifiable instances where mold growth has occurred or is likely to occur.
Visible Mold Growth On Carpet
As stated above, this can be a rare case, but sometimes it may be obvious from visual inspection that mold growth is occurring. Carpet in this condition is most likely not salvageable and should be disposed of and replaced.
Often, even if mold growth is not visible on the top of carpeting, it may be occurring underneath the carpet where it can’t be easily seen. Carpet suspected of containing mold should always be examined on both sides.
Any discoloration or odor on carpet that might be described as mildew is probably a case of mold. For more information please read my post on mold vs. mildew.
Wet Or Water-Damaged Carpet
Any carpet that has been subjected to water damage from flooding or standing water will most likely need to be disposed of. Conditions are ripe for mold growth in this case. Even if visibly apparent mold growth has not yet begun, it is highly likely to happen unless the carpet is completely removed, cleaned and dried within 24 to 48 hours. Even then, removal and cleaning are not guaranteed to prevent mold growth. It is more likely that the carpet will need to be replaced.
Wet Padding Beneath Carpet
If padding beneath the carpet has become wet for any reason, or has become moist from condensation, the padding as well as the carpet on top are at risk for mold growth. The padding may need to be replaced, as will the carpet, in most cases.
Carpeting in basements below grade level is especially at risk in areas where humidity is high, or where wide temperature swings can produce condensation. It is best to avoid carpet in places like the basement, kitchen, and bathrooms. At the very least, run a dehumidifier in those areas and fog with EC3 monthly to help prevent mold growth.
Odd Odors And Stains
There is a wide range of things that can cause odors and stains on carpets. If you are unsure or the origin, samples can be taken and sent for analysis to determine if mold growth has occurred. Remember, mold can smell like anything and it doesn’t always have a defined look.
How To Prevent Mold Growth In Carpet
The best method for combating mold is to not allow mold growth in the first place. The best way to do so is by ensuring that conditions conducive to growth do not exist. Below are some ways to prevent mold growth in carpets.
Reduce indoor humidity. The use of dehumidifiers will help control moisture in the air, depriving mold spores of the water they need to grow into mold. A range of 30% to 60% humidity is acceptable for interiors.
Install intelligently. Do not install carpeting in areas that are likely to be subject to frequent, high moisture. Carpet in a bathroom, for example, will quickly turn to a breeding ground for mold growth due to the high humidity from constant water use in that area.
Choose high-quality carpet padding. Solid, rubber-slab carpet padding with anti-microbial properties is available. It is slightly more expensive than other types of padding but can be helpful for preventing the growth of mold, especially in climates prone to periods of high humidity.
Never allow standing water. Carpet exposed to standing water will quickly be ruined. If standing water ever occurs because of a leak or a spill, all carpeting exposed must be immediately cleaned and dried. The top and bottom surfaces of the carpet, any padding, and the floor underneath must be cleaned and completely dried within a short period of time after exposure to standing water if the carpet is to be saved. If a large flood has occurred, or if standing water has been present for any extended period of time, the carpet will probably need to be replaced.
Clean smart. When carpeting needs to be cleaned, try to use a dry form of cleaning, when possible. If any water, liquid, or other moisture has come in contact with the carpet during cleaning, be sure it is dried thoroughly afterward. Open windows and direct blower fans on it.
How To Get Mold Out Of Carpet
In almost every case, if mold has grown on carpet or the carpet pad, cleaning will not be possible. If growth has occurred on more than one area of the carpet, or if there is a large area of growth, the carpet will always need to be replaced.
Small areas of growth that have been quickly identified can sometimes be dealt with. Here are the steps to remove a small amount of mold from the carpet.
- Sprinkle baking soda into the moldy carpet.
- Using a toothbrush or small scrub brush, brush the baking soda into the carpet to help loosen the mold spores.
- Using a HEPA vacuum, vacuum the area and throw out the vacuum bag or empty the canister immediately.
- Steam clean the affected area and 2 feet around it using EC3 Mold Concentrate or Chrisal Carpet Cleaner and water.
After cleaning, make sure you have good ventilation. It’s important to know how to dry wet carpet correctly because mold thrives in warm, moist areas. After your cleaning, make sure you dry the carpet as much as possible to avoid more mold growth. Also, turn a fan onto the carpet or open a few windows for more air. If you have access to a dehumidifier, placing it in the room will also help the carpet dry faster.
Another option in instances where mold growth is not widespread is to remove the ruined section of the carpet.
If cleaning has been attempted unsuccessfully, the area of mold growth may be removed and replaced with a patch of similar carpet. Of course, this will only work in situations where aesthetics are not a big concern, since exactly matching the patch to the original carpet may be difficult and the seam may be visible.
You want to be VERY careful when removing the mold carpet and pad however. You will want to remove at least an 18 inch wide path around the moldy area. Try to contain the area so the spores don’t go airborne. Be sure to wear a mask. Immediately bag the moldy carpet and seal it before transporting it outside your home.
If mold has grown in more than one area of the carpet, if the area of growth is larger than a couple of feet, or if the carpet pad is moldy, neither of these will be an effective method of mold removal.
As with all areas of the interior at risk for mold growth, prevention is the best method of control for carpet mold. Eliminating high-moisture conditions and preventing the risk of flooding or standing water will reduce the possibility of growth. Remember, mold prevention is always a priority.
In this post I refer to EC3 products. They are one of the only two mold and mycotoxin removal products that I personally use and recommend. Please read my article outlining what makes EC3 superior when it comes to killing mold and mycotoxins. It has been independently lab tested and proven to be 99% effective when used properly. I encourage you to purchase EC3 products directly through Micro Balance. If you prefer to shop on Amazon, Micro Balance has a presence there as well.
The original article was significantly adapted with permission.