Coming home to find mold growing on your carpet can be pretty disheartening. You may worry that you'll have to replace your carpet completely or spend hundreds to have it professionally cleaned. While this may be true if the mold is extensive, such as after a flood, small amounts of mold can typically be dealt with at home. Just follow these steps.
Step 1: Remove the source of the moisture.
If your carpet is moldy, it is because it is moist. Identify the cause of the moisture, and take the appropriate steps to remove it. Otherwise, the mold will just come back, regardless of how you treat it. Common causes of moldy carpet include:
- Plumbing leaks
- A window that was left open
- Cracks in the wall
- Leaky windows
Step 2: Ventilate the room.
Your next step is to remove as much moisture from the air as possible, as this will encourage the carpet to dry out. If it's not overly humid outside, open windows to let plenty of fresh air inside, and turn on your ceiling fan. If it's humid outside, keep the windows closed, turn on the fan, and run a portable dehumidifer or air conditioner to remove moisture from the air. If you do not own one of these appliances, it's worthwhile to borrow one from a friend for this project.
Step 3: Treat the carpet.
Though bleach is great at killing mold, you can't use it on most carpets since it will remove the colors. Instead, you'll need a carpet cleaner that is specially designed to treat mold. Often, these come in a powder or sprayable powder form so that they absorb moisture from your carpet at the same time that they kill mold. Follow the instructions on the can or bottle. Generally, you'll need to apply the product, wait an hour or two, and then use a scrub brush to loosen the (now dead) mold spores. Then, vacuum the product and the loosened mold spores up.
Make sure you wear goggles, a face mask, and long sleeves while you're cleaning the carpet. You don't want to expose yourself to mold spores.
Keep the dehumidifier running for at least two or three days after you clean the carpet. This will encourage any last drops of moisture to come out of the carpet. Then, as long as you don't let the carpet become wet again, you shouldn't have to worry about the mold coming back. Contact a mold removal expert.