Can Mold In Carpets Be Dangerous?
Mold may not be easily visible on a carpet’s surface, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there. And unfortunately, mold is nearly impossible to exterminate. Even if it appears mold has been removed, it’s most likely still there because carpet is porous, and microscopic mold spores can find their way into the holes of carpeting and grow again. Health problems from mold vary from person to person, but those who are most likely to be affected by exposure to mold are infants, small children, the elderly, people who have asthma, people with disorders affecting the immune system, and individuals who are undergoing medical procedures or who are taking medicines.
Healthy adults can also become ill after too much exposure to mold, especially if exposed for a long period of time. Some of the health risks associated with mold include allergic reactions, coughing, sneezing, a sore throat, and irritated eyes. Unfortunately, homeowners are often unaware of the presence of mold until after it has been present in their homes for a long time, so do your best to stay on top of mold issues.
Is Getting My Carpet Wet Put Me At Risk For Mold?
It is if you’re getting it wet too often or even at all. Wetness on carpets can occur after major catastrophes such as flooding, a broken water pipe, a leaky roof, or, more mundanely, if an open window allows rain to come in. Obviously, bathrooms can be breeding grounds for mold due to the moist and warm environment caused by showers and baths.
Getting back to carpets, all it takes for mold to grow is moisture, oxygen, a food source, and a surface to incubate. So when mold spores in the air find their way on a wet or damp surface with dust that can act as a food source, the conditions are ripe for mold to grow. Carpeting located in basements and in climes that are commonly damp are especially susceptible e to mold, as is carpeting that has been wet for any period of time.
How To Find & Deal With Mold Found In Carpets
Mold is often only identifiable within carpeting in severe cases such as when flooding occurs and the surface has been wet for some time. In this scenario, the carpet is likely not salvageable and will need to be removed and disposed of. In less extreme cases, mold may not be visible on the top of the carpet but may be growing underneath it.
Mold may also show up as carpet mildew, which appears as discoloration or an odor that has a noticeable smell. Any odors and stains on carpet should be examined to determine if mold growth has taken place.
As mentioned, basement carpet is highly susceptible to mold, as is wet padding that’s beneath the carpet. If this padding becomes wet, chances are both it and the carpet are at risk for mold and may need to be replaced.
How Can I Prevent Carpet Mold From Occuring
The top way to prevent mold from growing is to not allow conditions that will let it thrive. One way you can do this is by reducing the humidity indoors with a dehumidifier, which will help deprive mold spores of the water they need to grow into something worse.
Put in your carpet sensibly. Don’t install it in areas that are likely to receive frequent moisture. Installing carpet in a bathroom is a huge no-no. Furthermore, select only the best carpet padding that is made of solid rubber and has antimicrobial properties. It may be more expensive, but this kind of padding is worth it to prevent mold growth, especially in climates where high humidity is the norm. If your carpet has been exposed to standing water, it’s likely ruined and will need to be replaced.
Lastly, clean your carpet using a dry foam if possible. If you do use water or another liquid to clean it, make sure to dry it thoroughly afterward.
What Kills Carpet Mold, Or Should My Carpet Be Replaced?
In some instances in which mold has grown on carpet, the carpet may need to be replaced. If the mold has been identified in small areas, detergent and water and a steam-cleaning machine may be enough to clean it. Just make sure that the carpet is dried very thoroughly afterward to prevent future mold growth. If the problem is severe and something stronger than detergent or a common rug-cleaning agent is needed, test it out on an inconspicuous area of the carpet first, and then wait a reasonable amount of time–approximately 24 hours–to make sure the product did not damage or discolor the carpet.
In other scenarios, it’s possible to remove sections of carpet if the mold growth is not widespread and then replace it with a patch of similar carpet. This would be more acceptable in instances when aesthetics aren’t an issue. Those considering this option wouldn’t want to do it if the area of mold growth is larger than a couple of feet or if it has spread onto numerous areas of the carpet.
When in doubt, call in a mold remediation professional to answer all of your questions about mold, especially if you have a severe problem. Many of these individuals will assist with free in-home consultations, relating what needs to be done and offering safety tips.