Can you Clean Mold Out of a Carpet?

David J. Allen

I spent the better part of 2 ½ years learning about mold and indoor air quality because my child's life depended on it. Now I help others avoid ever having to experience the same thing. The mold industry suffers from conflicting opinions and I do my best to distill loads of data into something practical and useful. I love hearing from and helping readers. • "A house desecrated by mildew, mold, or fungus would be a defiled place to live in, so drastic measures had to be taken." — Leviticus 14:45

Significant mold growth can accumulate on your carpet in as few as 24-48 hours. By taking the proper steps, you can get rid of it fairly easily.

Granted, sections of mold larger than five feet in width will likely require professional intervention. When the growth is that expansive, there’s a good chance it’s already worked its way into the underlay of your flooring, which necessitates a much more complicated process to remedy.

However, you should be able to take care of any smaller mold spots all on your own.

Don’t put it off for too long, though; since mold is a living, growing organism, it will continue spreading until you address it.

Important Safety Precautions

To avoid breathing in too many harmful mold spores, your first step should be to ventilate the affected area as much as possible. If you’re dealing with a rug or any movable surface, your best bet is to take it outside and work on it there. If that’s not a possibility, opening the nearby windows or doors should be sufficient for safe breathing.

Before you start cleaning, you’d also be wise to equip yourself with rubber gloves, eye protection, and a proper facemask.

Examining the Carpet Backing

Prior to attacking the mold, you’ll want to diagnose the magnitude of the problem. If you can lift up the carpet, do so until you reach the moldy section.

Take a look at the backing of the carpet; if the mold spores have expanded beyond a few feet in width, cleaning is no longer a practical option.

At that point, you’ll need to either replace the carpet entirely or manually cut out and replace a large portion of it. If you go the latter route, make sure to cut at least a 12-inch border around the mold.

If you lift your carpet and discover that the mold hasn’t yet spread extensively, you’ll be all clear to start the cleaning process.

Scrubbing the Surface

For this step, you’ll need a dry brush with stiff bristles. You’ll want to vigorously scrub the visible mold spores with this brush, removing as much of the fungus as you can.

To be as thorough as possible, you should scrub the backing of the rug as well as the surface. You can use a dustpan or a vacuum cleaner to dispose of the spores you scrub loose.

Applying Anti-Fungal Spray

Once you’ve thoroughly dry-scrubbed the affected area, the next step will be to apply an anti-fungal spray. When choosing which spray to purchase, be sure to select one that has “safe for carpets” printed on the bottle. You’ll need to completely saturate the mold-affected parts of your carpet with this spray.

Be very generous with the anti-fungal spray; in addition to the moldy part of the carpet, soak at least six inches around it. If possible, douse the backing as well. Once you’re satisfied that you’ve applied enough spray, let the carpet sit undisturbed for about an hour.

After it’s sat for a while, use a clean, disposable rag to blot the spray and soak up any excess liquid. At this point, you should let the anti-fungal spray work, untouched, for at least 24 hours or until it’s 100% dry.

During this time, it’s imperative that you resist the urge to accelerate the drying process with a fan; if you’re not careful, that could spread mold spores around and exacerbate the problem. However, you can close the windows, crank up the heater, and utilize a dehumidifier to help the carpet dry more quickly.

Finishing the Cleaning Process

When you’re confident that the anti-fungal spray has dried completely, your next move should be to once again blot the affected area with a clean, dry rag. Make sure you’re using a new rag and not the one you used previously. At this point, the mold should be eliminated from your carpet.

To be safe, it’s a good idea to keep the heat turned up and the dehumidifier running for a few days after the process. You should check the area periodically over the next few weeks to confirm that there’s no resurgence of mold spores, but if you have fully handled the source of water or moisture that caused the growth and you don’t observe any new growth, you should be in the clear.

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