What Is Carpet Mold and How Do You Deal With It

Mold is a kind of fungus that encompasses many different species and can be found all over the world. It smells and looks bad, thrives in damp places, and constantly releases spores that can aggravate chronic respiratory conditions such as allergies and asthma.

To make matters worse, mold infestations are notoriously difficult to deal with, to the point where most homeowners have no choice but to call a professional mold remediation service (to learn more about how these services operate, click here). 

As many unlucky homeowners will tell you, one of the worst types of mold is carpet mold. In addition to being able to ruin expensive carpeting, this kind of mold can produce extremely unpleasant smells and cause you and the other members of your household to develop allergies and other dangerous chronic conditions. 

What are the causes of carpet mold?

Mold feeds on moisture, so it’s almost never found in dry places. When it comes to our homes, mold most often appears in damp areas such as bathrooms, basements, and kitchens. However, it can be found anywhere where it’s humid and dirty, like after a house flooding, or even a more severe spill.

Yes, you read that right: your carpet doesn’t need to be wet to become moldy, it just needs to be lightly soiled. Since the mold usually appears on the carpet’s underside, it’s often difficult to detect unless you regularly look under your carpets.

You can prevent carpet mold by:

  • Cleaning the carpet regularly and not stepping on it while wearing outdoor shoes.
  • Keeping humidity levels inside your house at reasonable levels.
  • Keeping your carpet dry. 
  • Getting a synthetic carpet (these types of carpets are more mold-resistant). 

How is carpet mold removed?

It depends on how moldy your carpet is. If the answer is “very moldy”, your best bet is to call a mold remediation service or throw the carpet away and buy a replacement. If the mold infestation hasn’t gotten completely out of hand yet, you may still be able to save the carpet on your own.

Here’s a quick carpet mold removal guide:

  • Step #1: Thoroughly ventilate the room the carpet is in. This will keep the mold spores from getting into the other areas of your home.
  • Step #2: Give the carpet a good brushing with a stiff brush. Remove as much mold as possible, then sweep it into a plastic bag and throw it in the trash. DO NOT use your vacuum cleaner, as that may result in the vacuum cleaner sucking up all the mold spores and distributing them throughout your home the next time you use it. 
  • Step #3: Thoroughly scrub the affected parts of your carpet using a high quality carpet cleaner.
  • Step #4: Hang the carpet outside to dry for a couple days. The goal is to make your carpet as dry as possible to kill off whatever mold and spores it may still be carrying.
  • Step #5: Remove the remaining mold spores using a HEPA vacuum cleaner.

What about the moldy smells?

If your carpet has gotten so moldy it’s letting out musty smells, it’s almost certainly damaged beyond repair and you’re better off just getting a new one. 

If that’s not the option, try the following:

  • Step #1: Mix a cup of vinegar with two cups of water, and spray this solution all over the carpet.
  • Step #2: Add plenty of baking soda afterward and let it sit for 8-12 hours. If you’re lucky, this will absorb the smell and kill some mold species. 
  • Step #3: Grab a foam carpet shampoo and thoroughly wash the carpet.

Step #4: Take the carpet outside and let it dry in the sun for a day or two.