Untreated dampness on the carpet, whether from a persistent leak, over-watered plants, or an uneducated puppy at home, can create mold growth within days. And mold, which can appear as green, gray, or white spots on the carpet and add a strong musty smell to a room, can lead to chronic allergies, asthma, and even bronchitis. While you can mitigate small mildew stains yourself, sections over 5 feet in width require professional treatment, as it’s likely that mold has grown into the underlayment or flooring, making it possible which is much more difficult to eliminate. In cases large and small, it is essential to act quickly; mold is a living, growing organism, and the spores spread quickly. Keep in mind that you need to figure out how to remove mold from the carpet and address its root cause – groundwater seepage or other external factors need to be addressed at the same time.
There are different ways to remove mold from a carpet, some more effective than others. Natural antifungal remedies, such as vinegar and tea tree oil, are known to âinhibitâ, not kill, mold. Bleach can banish mold, but it can also discolor carpet. So an antifungal spray designed to kill mold, available at retail stores and home improvement centers, might be your best bet.
Ventilate the space by opening the windows or, if possible to remove the carpet, take it out for treatment. While not all mold is a health hazard, it is best to proceed with caution, donning a face shield, goggles, and rubber gloves before you get to work.
If you cannot remove or lift the carpet, proceed by treating the visible mold on the surface. If it is possible to lift the carpet, do so until you reach the mold area and examine the backing. Backing with heavy mold growth more than a few feet in width shouldn’t just be cleaned – you’ll need to replace the carpet. If that’s a price you’re not prepared to pay, you can choose to cut the mold covered area with a 12-inch edging past the damage and insert a new carpet, instead of replacing any. the room. Be sure to remove and replace the underlayment or carpet part as well to thwart the return of mold.
Scrub the carpet surface with a stiff, dry bristle brush to remove visible mold spores. Brush them in a shovel and throw them in a garbage bag. (Vacuuming is not recommended, as the spores from your vacuum can spread to other areas of your home.) If you can brush the back of the carpet as well, do that.
Completely saturate the moldy area, and at least 6 inches around it, with an antifungal spray that specifies that it is safe for carpets (it should also carry a “mold barrier” or “mold prevention” label ). If it is possible to lift or remove the mat, spray both the front and the back. Also spray the area of ââthe floor that the moldy part came in contact with. Let the antifungal spray sit for an hour.
Blot up the antifungal spray with a dry, clean, disposable cloth to absorb the excess. Do not rinse the area with water or any other treatment. The antifungal agent will continue to work until it is completely dry. Resist using a fan to speed up drying; that can blow mold spores elsewhere and create new problems. Instead, close your windows, turn up the heat in the room, and use a dehumidifier to let the carpet dry naturally for at least 24 hours. Do not step on the area or allow animals to interfere with it while it is drying, as the mold is still “alive” and has the potential to spread.
Clean the bristle brush and dustpan of all mold spores by scrubbing with hot soapy water, then spraying with an antifungal treatment and allowing it to dry completely. Discard the rag and rubber gloves.
Once the carpet has completely dried, reapply the antifungal treatment as in step 4, then follow steps 5 and 6, using a clean, cool, disposable cloth to blot. Discard the cloth after blotting.
Let the dehumidifiers run for a few more days to remove mold spores from the air as well.
Once the carpet has dried completely, you should be mold free. Don’t take this for granted, however. Continue to check the area every day for a few weeks to make sure the mold growth has not returned. It can be a slow recurrence, especially if you haven’t been able to remove or lift the mat, so give it a month before you have a full rest.
Mold prevention tips
- Do not place potted plants directly on the carpet, not even with a water pan underneath. Use only enamel pots, not terra cotta, on the carpet and use a moisture barrier, such as a rubber tray or mat.
- Never stack firewood on a carpet; always have a moisture barrier between the wood and the carpet.
- If your pet has relieved themselves in an area more than once, talk to your local pet store about deterrent sprays that may make the area less attractive to Fido or Chairman Meow.
- With damp areas or a damp home, invest in quality dehumidifiers to keep humidity at a constant minimum. This will protect hardwood floors and artwork as well as carpeting.