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Can Carpet Cleaning Remove Mold? - Effectiveness Explained

September 11, 2020

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If your home has an unpleasant, musty odor, it might be time for carpet cleaning to remove mold, mildew, and other such irritants. Mold and mildew thrive in dark, damp spaces, including underneath carpeting or even along the bottom of its fibers.

To get mold out of carpet naturally, use an eco-friendly, plant-based carpet cleaning solution designed for mold and mildew. Harsher mold carpet cleaner products and deep cleaning or shampooing are best left in the hands of a professional, to ensure safe cleaning and thorough rinsing.

Never overlook household mold whether it’s in carpeting, behind walls, or elsewhere, as mold spores spread easily and rarely just go away on their own! Carpet mold is also dangerous in certain cases, for your health and your home’s overall condition.

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To ensure you’re doing everything possible to keep a home’s carpets in good condition and looking their best, you might note some tips and precautions about carpet cleaning to remove mold. It’s also helpful to consider some suggestions for keeping carpets clean and mold-free, signs that it’s time to schedule professional carpet cleaning, and your various carpet shampooing methods as well.

Everything You Need to Know About Carpet Cleaning to Remove Mold

To best understand how to get mold out of carpet naturally or with needed cleansers and detergents, you might consider how mold, mildew, and other irritants form and how those cleansers work to kill growing spores. You can then discuss these tips with a carpet cleaning contractor near you as needed.

  • First note that mold is always present in homes; it’s as natural as germs, bacteria, dust, and other microscopic particles, but typically in small amounts that are not dangerous or even noticeable to humans.
  • Because mold is always present, certain conditions might encourage it to grow and spread so that it then becomes bothersome and, in rare cases, even downright dangerous.
  • Mold and mildew both thrive in dark, damp spaces with little air circulation. This is why mold tends to grow behind a home’s walls where it’s consistently dark, and why both mold and mildew develop easily underneath carpeting and carpet padding.
  • As excess moisture encourages mold and mildew growth, it’s not unusual to notice these contaminants growing under carpets after flooding or large spills.
  • Homes in the tropics or high humidity areas are also prone to carpet mold and mildew growth, as that moisture tends to get trapped underneath fibers and padding; without any air circulation, those fibers and padding don’t dry out properly so that mold and mildew then grow!
  • Improper shampoo and cleaning techniques also tend to lead to carpet mold and mildew growth. It’s not unusual for homeowners to use too much application and rinse water when managing DIY carpet shampooing, leaving rugs and padding wet and prone to mold and mildew growth!
  • Over-the-counter detergents and carpet cleansers might address small patches of mold or mildew, such as from a spill. However, keep in mind that mold and mildew both spread easily through carpet backing and then along padding and even your home’s subfloor. Those detergents might not address all that mold growth!
  • A homeowner attempting their own DIY carpet cleaning to remove mold might actually make the situation worse by leaving carpets damp afterward! While you might remove existing mold spores or growing mildew, that dampness might encourage it to return and grow back even faster than before.

How to Get Mold Out of Carpet Naturally

For small areas of mold growth, consider a 50/50 white vinegar and water solution. Put this solution in a spray bottle and saturate the spot. Allow the solution to sit for several minutes so it has a chance to kill mold spores and growth. Use a clean, dry rag to blot the solution and then a hair dryer to dry it completely.

If this doesn’t kill and remove a patch of mold, use the solution again but this time go over it with a stiff-bristled cleaning brush, brushing up as much mold as possible. Keep reapplying the solution as needed to loosen the mold. Once you’ve brushed up as much as possible, spray it again with plain, warm water and use a dry, clean rag to blot. Use the hairdryer again to dry out the spot.

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If you notice the mold returning or this solution doesn’t address mold patches, it’s time to call a carpet cleaning contractor near you. Reappearing mold typically grows beneath the carpet backing and along its padding, where simple household solutions don’t reach. Deep steam cleaning or dry cleaning is often used to kill mold in those hard-to-reach spots and keep it from recurring.

How to Avoid Mold in Carpet From Water Damage

High humidity levels often allow mold and mildew growth in carpets, as that excess humidity gets trapped underneath carpet backing and its padding. While you can’t always control humidity levels in the air, investing in a high-quality dehumidifier can reduce trapped moisture levels that increase the risk of mold growth. Daily vacuuming also helps remove some of that moisture, keeping carpets dry and clean.

Along with high humidity levels, floods, spills, and water damage also tend to lead to mold and mildew underneath carpeting. Keeping the home’s plumbing including its fixtures and features in good working order is one vital consideration for ensuring everything around the home is protected from water damage, including the carpeting! Have a full plumbing inspection every year or two, to find leaks, worn connectors, rusted pipes, and other needed repairs.

Broken dishwashers and clothes washing machines are also a common cause of mold in carpet from water damage. Inspect these appliances every year or as needed to ensure their drainage hoses are in good condition, free of kinks and other such damage. Never overload these machines or ignore signs of needed repairs, such as banging sounds, inefficient washing, and the like.

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If there is a spill in the home, it’s vital that standing water be removed immediately! A household vacuum is the wrong tool for removing floodwaters; choose a commercial wet-dry vacuum instead. Note, too, that removing floodwater above the carpet is also insufficient, as water can easily pool under its backing and padding. Pull the carpeting up to expose its underside and use commercial blowers for a thorough drying!

If you’re not sure how to pull up carpeting, and especially if floodwaters were quite severe, call a carpet cleaning specialist rather than trying to remove that water yourself. He or she can typically extract residual floodwaters and then clean carpets thoroughly, to ensure a complete drying and to stop mold growth before it spreads.

Is It Time to Get the Carpets Cleaned?

Not all mold and other dirt along carpeting is visible and noticeable, but ignoring needed carpet cleaning can lead to increased mold growth as well as worn carpet fibers and other damage. To ensure you keep your carpets clean, employ your sense of smell! If you or your guests notice a musty smell in the home, it’s time for a thorough carpet shampooing as well as upholstery cleaning, to remove mold and mildew under carpeting and behind furniture fabric.

When you start noticing worn pathways in the carpet, schedule steam cleaning or foam encapsulation cleaning. These carpet cleaning methods help to “fluff up” carpet fibers and restore their nap and softness, for carpet that looks and feels better. Steaming or foam encapsulation also help ensure those fibers don’t become matted permanently, reducing how often you’ll need to get new carpeting!

While carpet fibers often hide layers of dirt and grime, tile and stone floors often show grime much easier. If you notice that your home’s kitchen or bathroom flooring looks grungy and dull even after a good scrubbing, it’s time for professional floor cleaning! If there are layers of dirt on your home’s tile floors, there’s a good chance that the carpets are just as dirty and need some professional attention.

What’s the Best Carpet Cleaning Method for Removing Mold?

Homeowners often have more choices for residential carpet cleaning than they realize! Each has their own benefits and varies in price and effectiveness, so understanding a few details about each of these methods can help you choose the right one for your home.

Traditional shampooing has fallen out of favor for many homeowners and carpet cleaning contractors, as this process often requires lots of application and rinse water. Residual water can encourage mold growth! Steam cleaning uses far less water, and steam reaches and kills growing mold spores. Dry cleaning, using chemicals similar to those used to dry clean clothes, also uses little water and can kill mold developing along carpet surfaces.

Foam encapsulation helps fluff up carpet fibers, as said, and does pull up dirt ground into those fibers. However, it might not be strong enough to kill growing mold and mildew. Bonnet cleaning is a lightweight, affordable method for cleaning carpet surfaces but it also might not be effective against growing mold.

Related Questions

Is carpet mold dangerous?

Small amounts of mold are always present in your home, as said, and aren’t dangerous. Some patchy areas of mold are also not generally dangerous; however, if left unchecked, mold grows quickly and spreads easily! The higher the mold levels in your home, the more risks to your health and house. To avoid these risks, address moldy carpets quickly.

Does moldy carpeting need replacing?

Only a carpet cleaning contractor can note if your home’s rugs need replacing rather than cleaning. Very often, carpet cleaning to remove mold is successful and salvages the rugs; however, if they’re old and worn whether due to mold or just everyday wear and tear, it can be the better financial decision to simply replace them.


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