How to Get Rid of Carpet Mold

carpet mold westchester county ny
Carpet mold can produce unpleasant odors, degrade your carpet, and cause wheezing in asthma sufferers. Check underneath furniture regularly, in order to catch mold at the surface of the carpet. If the mold has reached the carpet’s backing, it will be significantly harder to treat, but there are still several remedies to try. Professional carpet cleaners have access to additional treatments and machines, but some of these are available to rent from tool rental services, without having to hire a professional.

Method 1: Removing Carpet Mold with Home Supplies

  1. Inspect the carpet. If the mold has reached the backing at the base of the carpet, it may take considerable effort to remove. Consider hiring a professional carpet cleaner in this scenario. If the mold has grown across a large portion of the backing, you may need to replace the carpet.
  2. Ventilate the room. Open all windows and doors in the room with the moldy carpet. Air flow will reduce the humidity that encourages mold, and lessen associated odors. If you plan to use a chemical cleaning product, ventilation will reduce the chance of irritating your lungs and eyes.
    • If there are no windows to the room, turn on a fan pointing toward a doorway.
  3. Sun the carpet if possible. If your carpet is removable, move it outside and hang it over a sturdy clothesline. 24–48 hours of direct sunlight will help kill mold spores, and remove moisture that encourages mold growth.
    • If the carpet is soaked through to the backing, not just the upper fibers, it may take much longer to dry. Leave it in direct sun in an area with good ventilation for several days.
  4. Remove moisture with baking soda. This step will absorb moisture and reduce odors, but further efforts will be required for all but the lightest mold problem. Sprinkle the affected area generously with baking soda, leave on overnight, then vacuum it up.
    • Talc-free baby powder may be used instead. Avoid baby powder that contains talc, since this can cause serious harm if inhaled.
    • Cat litter may also be used as a substitute.
  5. Scrub with white vinegar. Although vinegar does not kill every mold species, it is a cheap and often effective option. Using white vinegar to avoid stains, apply lightly with a spray bottle, and scrub it in with a stiff brush. Blow dry the carpet, or air dry in a well-ventilated area, to avoid leaving moisture that could replenish the mold.
    • Some people report success mixing their vinegar with an equal part of methylated spirits.

Method 2: Removing Carpet Mold with Commercial or Professional Treatments

  1. Use an anti-mold treatment. Anti-mold or antifungal sprays are available at most drug stores and supermarkets. Check the label for instructions, and to make sure the product is safe for use on carpets. Antifungal treatments designed for kitchen or bathroom cleaning could potentially discolor or damage the carpet.
    • Products that include an “encapsulate” treatment or “mold barrier” are designed to leave a clear barrier on the carpet fibers, preventing future mold growth. This is recommended for carpets kept in humid conditions.
    • A mixture of bleach and water can be used instead of a commercial solution. Mix half a cup of bleach with a gallon of water. You may want to use color-safe bleach and test it on a corner of your carpet first to make sure that it will not cause discoloration.
  2. Try a carpet cleaning product. Carpet cleaning products that contain deodorizers will remove the mildewy smell as well as fighting the mold itself. Follow the instructions on the product label, since products vary.
    • Some people report success with Vanish detergent products for carpets.
  3. Apply chlorine dioxide products cautiously. Some mold removal products are based on chlorine dioxide, but be aware that this chemical can alter the carpet’s color. Test first on a small area normally covered by furniture, following the product label’s instructions. Depending on the product, you may need access to a wet vacuum to remove it from the carpet after use.
    • Work in a well-ventilated area while using chlorine dioxide products, as they can produce vapors that irritate the lungs and eyes. Move to a different room if you feel short of breath or start coughing.
  4. Rent a steam cleaner. Specialized steam cleaning vacuums are available for homeowners to rent, and can be effective at removing persistent mold. Drying the carpet quickly afterward is vital, or the water used in this method will remain and encourage new mold growth. Use a blow dryer, or keep the carpet in direct sunlight and blow a fan over it.
    • Do not try to steam clean your carpet without a specialized machine. Applying steam or hot water can easily shrink or damage your carpet if done incorrectly.
  5. Hire a professional. Professionals may have greater experienced identifying specific mold, as well as access to specialized machines and chemicals. If you have already tried steam cleaning, hire a professional to conduct dry ice blasting or another, different treatment.
  6. Remove the affected area. If faced with major mold colonies that have grown onto the carpet backing, you may decide that replacement is a more effective use of time and money. When cutting out the damaged carpet, cut an additional 12 inch (30 centimeter) border on all sides to ensure total removal.
    • If you do this, you may find that there is mold on the floor beneath the carpet. In this case, make sure that you thoroughly treat the area before replacing the carpet.

Method 3: Preventing Carpet Mold

  1. Treat possible sources of mold and moisture. Damp crawlspaces or subfloors may need anti-moisture polyethylene sheeting or professional treatment to prevent further mold growth. Check vents, closets, and the underside of upholstery as well, to make sure all sources of mold are located and eliminated. If possible, check beneath the carpet as well.
    • Most mildewy upholstery can be treated using the same methods as carpet, but test a corner first to make sure the color is unaffected.
  2. Increase ventilation. Air flow helps evaporate moisture, drying out damp areas where mold thrives. Leave the windows open or a fan blowing for at least two hours a day.
    • Open windows early in the morning if possible, to remove moisture that has built up overnight.
  3. Run a dehumidifier. If you live in a humid climate, or there is no easy way to ventilate the room, purchase a dehumidifier. Keep this running at night to remove moisture content from the air, before it settles on the carpet.
  4. Vacuum regularly. Sweeping can be effective, but carpets can trap dust and mold spores deep in their fibers, making vacuum cleaning a preferred option. Shark vacuums may be more effective, but tend to be significantly more expensive.
  5. Leave the lights on. Mold grows well in the dark, and introducing more light can help reduce the spread of mold. You can try leaving on low-energy lights on for periods of time. You can even try using nightlights when you go to sleep.
    • While average fluorescent light bulbs can prevent the spread of mold, special UV C lights can help detect and kill mold spores.
  6. Use a HEPA vacuum after removing major mold colonies. After a serious mold infestation has been removed, renting a HEPA vacuum or filter is recommended to remove the last mold spores from the area. Seal vents and close windows before using, to minimize the amount of spores that travel to other areas of the house.
    • HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air. It is a rating used to describe various products, not a brand name.


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