Mold is a natural part of the environment around us. While there will always be some level of mold present in a space, excessive mold growth is problem. Porous carpeting can be the deal breeding ground for mold development if an adequate moisture source is introduced to your indoor environment. Carpet tends to be especially vulnerable to mold growth because it attracts and holds onto moisture and dirt.
Carpet Mold Growth
Mold growth in carpet can be tricky and illusive. More often than not, carpet mold will not present itself at the carpet surface. Often times, carpet mold is hidden beneath the porous layers of damp carpet and padding. In fact, mold will probably only be visible on the surface of carpets in unusually severe cases of contamination. Hidden mold and moisture is especially dangerous because the longer moisture and mold goes unaddressed, the more damage it will do to your home. If you know your carpet has been exposed to moisture, pay attention for some of the following signs that could be hinting at an underlying mold problem.
Potential Signs of Carpet Mold:
- Visible mold growth– This can be a rare case, but sometimes it may be obvious from visual inspection that mold is developing.
- Discoloration or staining— Suspicious or unexplained discoloration or staining can mean signs of an underlying moisture buildup or water damage that is contributing to mold.
- Musty Odors– It is common for mold to be accompanied by musty odors. Mold releases a pungent, earthy odor that can be rather off-putting. If you detect musty odors, you could be dealing with hidden carpet mold.
- Wet or water-damaged carpet– Carpet and/or carpet padding that has been subject to major flooding or standing water,will likely need to be replaced. In serious cases of water damage, the carpet is likely non-salvageable. In such cases, if the carpet is not properly removed and the area is not thoroughly dried out, mold growth is likely inevitable.
How to Prevent Carpet Mold Development
Carpet Maintenance: Take care of your carpets
- Regular inspections and cleaning will help to prevent mold development in your carpets. If mold does begin to develop, a regular inspection with allow you to catch the problem early on and prevent it from getting worse.
- When cleaning your carpets try to use dry cleaning methods to minimize moisture absorption. If you must use water, liquid, or other moisture during the cleaning process, be sure to thoroughly dry the area out afterwards.
- Bonus– regular inspections and cleanings will also help to keep your carpets in its best condition and extend its lifespan.
Humidity Control: Ideal indoor humidity is between 30% to 60%
- Mold does not need much moisture to spread. Elevated heat and humidity can prove to be a more than adequate moisture source for excessive mold development.
- Keep indoor temperatures and humidity levels below 80 degrees fahrenheit and below 60% humidity to prevent moisture buildup within your carpets and avoid potential mold development.
- If necessary, install a properly rated dehumidifier to facilitate humidity control.
- Bonus– reduced indoor humidity will help preserve the dry condition of all building materials throughout your home and prevent indoor mold development overall
Strategic Installation: Do not install carpet in moisture-prone areas
- Try to avoid installing carpet in spaces that are likely to be subject to frequent or high moisture exposure.
- For example, by installing porous carpeting in spaces like basements and bathrooms, you care basically creating the ideal breeding ground for mold.
- Consider investing in waterproof and mold-resistant carpet padding like solid, rubber-slab carpet padding with anti-microbial properties.
Immediate Dryout: Never allow standing water
- In order to effectively prevent carpet mold development, you need to keep your carpets dry and minimize contact with moisture.
- Extended exposure to standing water will ruin your carpet. If standing water ever occurs because of a leak or a spill (no matter how small), all carpeting exposed must be immediately cleaned and dried.
- The top and bottom surfaces of the carpet, any padding, and the floor underneath must be cleaned and completely dried right away to avoid serious damage.
- In the event of a large flood, or if standing water has been present for any extended period of time, the carpet will likely be non-salvageable and will need to be replaced.
Keep in mind that mold growth is not restricted to specific building materials like carpeting. Mold has the ability to contaminate and spread to virtually any surface. Remember that moisture control is the most important factor to maintaining a mold-free carpets and a mold-free home overall.