How to Clean Mold Out of Carpet

How to Clean Mold Out of Carpet

Here are the steps to take when your carpet grows mold
Read Time: 5 minutes
Jan 16, 2023

Mold in your carpets is a serious health concern, as mold spores can get in your lungs and lead to health complications such as asthma and eye irritation. Carpets are relatively good at trapping mold compared to floor materials like tile and hardwood. You may need to use special cleaning techniques to get the mold out. Let’s review what to do if you suspect you have mold in your carpeting.

How Do Carpets Get Moldy?

Moisture can get trapped in carpets quite easily. When moisture is trapped in the carpet for too long, mold can grow. Your carpet can absorb moisture from a ceiling leak, plumbing problem, basement flood, high humidity, or a previous cleaning. The water gets trapped in the carpet’s individual fibers, the weave of the carpet, and the backing. The moisture can even get into the floorboards and damage your house’s structural integrity.

When You Should Throw Your Carpet Out

A man in yellow overalls and a gas mask removes a carpet from a room.

Sometimes, cleaning a carpet of mold is just not possible or is too risky. If you don’t clean it properly, or the carpet cannot dry properly once cleaned, you risk continuing to breathe in the mold. Do not try cleaning the carpet if:

  • The mold is the result of a flood: If your floors were flooded, it’s recommended you throw the carpet away and clean the underfloor.
  • The mold is underneath the backing of the carpet: If the mold is not just on the surface of the carpet but within your entire floor, you should not attempt to clean it.
  • The affected area is larger than ten square feet: If the mold affects more than ten square feet of your carpet, consider hiring a professional or throwing away the carpet.
  • The mold has gone up the walls: If the mold has spread from the floors to the walls, this is a job for professionals.

Sometimes, the easiest option is to get new carpeting. If you need clarification, ask a professional for advice.

Steps to Clean Your Carpets of Mold

If you decide not to hire a professional and to keep the carpet, you can take the following steps to clean the carpet of mold.

Step #1

Wear Proper Safety Gear

A woman puts on yellow rubber gloves.

You should always don the proper safety gear before removing mold from your carpet. The safety gear will protect you from mold spores and chemical cleaners’ fumes. Make sure to wear eye gear, a mask, and gloves.

Step #2

Ventilate and Isolate the Affected Area

Before you begin cleaning, you should make sure the area is ventilated, so the mold spores have somewhere to go. However, you should also isolate the area from the rest of the house, so the mold spores do not spread to other rooms. You can use plastic sheeting if you cannot isolate the area by closing doors. Then use fans to push air from the room to the outside via doors or windows.

Step #3

Use a Stiff Brush to Remove Mold

A hand wearing a yellow rubber glove uses a red brush to clean a carpet.

Using a stiff brush, remove visible mold and sweep it into a garbage bag. Do not use a vacuum for this step unless you have a HEPA filter. Even with a HEPA filter, you risk mold spores staying inside the vacuum and getting released the next time you use the vacuum. Hence, a brush is the safer option.

Clean Your Brushes

Every time you use a brush to clean mold, clean it afterward by scrubbing it with hot soapy water. Then, follow up with an anti-fungal spray.

Step #4

Use a Cleaner

The following cleaners and methods are suitable for cleaning carpets:

Baking Soda and Vinegar

A close-up of a carpet with baking soda applied and a yellow sponge beside it.

Note that a baking soda and vinegar mixture is a natural remedy that might not completely kill the mold.

  1. Apply baking soda to the area and let it sit overnight.
  2. The next day, apply vinegar to the area and scrub it with a brush.
  3. Also scrub the back of the carpet, if possible.

Anti-Fungal Spray

Anti-fungal sprays are specifically designed to kill mold. Make sure to choose one that also provides mold prevention.

  1. Spray the anti-fungal spray on the affected area and let it sit for an hour.
  2. Blot it, then let it sit for 24 hours with a heater or dehumidifier in the room. Keep pets and children out of the room.
  3. Then repeat these steps with a new rag to ensure the mold is gone.
  4. Continue running a heater or dehumidifier in the room for a few days to dry the carpet thoroughly.

Steam cleaner

A man uses a steam cleaner on a beige carpet.

A steam cleaner is another option for cleaning the mold from your carpet. The heat kills the mold while the bristles of the brush help loosen and remove the mold. Follow your steam cleaner’s exact instructions.

Step #5

Allow the Area to Dry Completely

You want to make sure the area you cleaned dries as completely as possible to prevent creating even more mold. Wait as long as you have to, even if it takes a couple of days. Use a humidifier or space heater in the room to help dry out the carpet. Check every few days to see if any more mold has developed.

How to Prevent Future Mold

A white dehumidifier sits against a window.

Preventing future mold is vital so you do not have to repeat this process. Here are a few things to do to prevent future mold growth in your carpets.

  • Don’t set potted plants on the carpet: Even if you have a water dish, don’t set the plant directly on the carpet. Use glazed pots and place a barrier between the carpet and the pot, such as a rubber mat or tray.
  • Don’t set firewood directly on the carpet: Firewood can sometimes bring moisture into your home. Place it on a moisture barrier like a tray.
  • Replace your home’s air filter regularly: Most experts suggest replacing it every three months to keep your air as clean as possible.
  • Use a dehumidifier: If your home is very humid or in a humid area, use a dehumidifier to help keep moisture out of your floors.
  • Use an air purifier with a HEPA filter: These air purifiers can help keep your air clean and dry.
  • Vacuum often: Make sure to vacuum your carpet often to keep it as clean as possible.

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