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Mold on Carpet: How to Get It Out Without Chemicals

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Mold on Carpet

Mold is a common issue in households and getting rid of it can seem like a daunting task if you don’t know the right tips and tricks. It is fairly easy to remove mold from hard surfaces like tiles or countertops but eliminating mold on carpet can be a tad more difficult.

While there are plenty of mold removal products available on the market, you might be worried about all the chemicals present in those products. In this article, we will explore safe and natural ways of removing mold without using harmful chemicals.

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Health Hazards of Mold on Carpet

Mold exposure can lead to a stuffy nose, wheezing, and irritation in the eyes and skin. If you are allergic to molds or suffer from asthma, you may experience more intense reactions. 

People who have a suppressed or compromised immune system have a greater risk of developing a fungal infection from mold exposure.

Although most types of mold do not cause serious disease, a few kinds of mold release Mycotoxins that if inhaled can cause respiratory infections or bronchitis that would require medical care.

Related: White Mold in the Basement: What Is It, and How To Prevent It?

How Does Mold Grow on Your Carpet?

A carpet adds an elegant touch to your living space and makes it more warm and welcoming. It is quite upsetting when mold leaves discolored patches on your carpet and gives off an offensive odor. You might be wondering how mold entered your home and infected your carpet in the first place.

According to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mold spores are naturally present everywhere in the air and on surfaces. They might enter your home through open windows, doors, vents, and heating and air conditioning systems. Mold spores outside attach to clothing, shoes, or pets and are carried indoors.

Related: How to Remove Mold from Clothes Using Baking Soda (and Other Methods)

It becomes a problem when these spores find a suitable environment to grow. Mold requires moisture, oxygen, and nutrients such as cellulose to start growing. If your carpet stays wet for an extended amount of time it becomes the perfect breeding ground for mold.

Carpets usually have a thick material comprising of different kinds of fabric and a carpet backing that may contain cellulose. Carpets tend to heavily absorb moisture and retain it for a long period. When mold spores land on a moist carpet, they feed on the cellulose and begin growing quickly.

Mold only takes mold 24 to 48 hours to start growing but it can take weeks until it becomes visible. In some cases, it may not even appear on the top face of the carpet. Mold can grow and thrive in the carpet’s backing material or under it, making it undetectable until you sense a musty odor and decide to inspect your carpet closely.

Maybe you cleaned your carpet but it did not dry properly, there might be a leaking pipe nearby, or your new pet is yet to be housetrained. In any case, you must address the root cause as soon as you notice your carpet is damp to prevent mold from growing to a stage where you have no other choice than to replace your carpet.

How to Remove Mold on Carpet Without Chemicals

While prevention is better than a cure, what can you do if it’s already too late and there are visible spots of mold growth on your carpet? We have gathered a list of ways to remove mold from your carpet without using chemicals:

Apply Baking Soda & Vinegar

Baking soda has many uses as a household staple. You can use it with white vinegar to stop the growth of mold. Baking soda absorbs excess moisture which is essential for mold removal. The alkaline nature of baking soda inhibits the growth of fungus.

Vinegar is known to have antifungal activity. Being a strong acid, it creates a harsh environment in which the mold cannot grow. Baking soda and vinegar may also help overcome and eliminate musty odors caused by the mold.

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The following steps may help remove mold from your carpet:

  1. Generously sprinkle baking soda on the carpet and let it stay for an hour.
  2. Fill up a spray bottle with vinegar and heavily spray on the target area.
  3. Take a stiff brush and scrub the carpet to remove the mold from the carpet’s fabric.
  4. Now thoroughly dry the carpet using a blow dryer or by placing it outside in the sunlight.
  5. Once it is dry, you can use a HEPA vacuum cleaner to remove any leftover debris and baking soda.
  6. It is not advisable to use a regular vacuum cleaner since it can further spread mold spores in your home. If you don’t have access to a HEPA vacuum cleaner then you can use a broom and dustpan instead.

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Tea Tree and Grapefruit Seed Oil

These potent natural essential oils have antifungal and antibacterial properties that can help remove your mold on carpet.

  1. Take a spray bottle and fill it up with a cup of hot water.
  2. Add a teaspoon of tea tree oil or 10 drops of grapefruit seed oil to the hot water and shake to mix to make a solution.
  3. Spray the infected area with this solution.
  4. After 10 minutes, use a HEPA vacuum to remove the mold and contaminants from the carpet.

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Use a Steam Cleaner

Steam cleaners can kill mold by releasing hot steam that has temperatures between 150° and 364° Fahrenheit. Since mold is temperature-sensitive it will die at such a high temperature. If you decide to use a steam cleaner, keep the following points in mind:

  1. For effective mold removal, apply the hot steam to the carpet’s affected area for 12 seconds at least.
  2. After this, the carpet should be dried immediately to prevent the growth of new mold.
  3. You may put the carpet outside in sunlight or place it directly in front of a fan to dry it properly.
  4. A steam cleaner can easily be purchased online or you cant rent it from a home improvement store.

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  • Engineered to be powerful for the toughest pet stains and odors even removes skunk odor
  • Express clean mode can dry carpets in about 30 minutes
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Use a HEPA Vacuum Cleaner

A HEPA vacuum is a type of vacuum cleaner fitted with a HEPA filter that is appropriate for removing mold spores. It is best to use this type of vacuum cleaner once you have successfully treated the infected area using one of the above methods. A HEPA vacuum sucks up residual mold spores that are still present after the treatment to prevent mold from spreading in the future.

In contrast, a regular vacuum cleaner that does not have a HEPA filter is not suitable for this purpose because it only contains ordinary filters that are unable to trap the tiny mold spores. The spores simply pass through the filtration and escape back into the air through the exhaust.

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How to Prevent Mold from Growing on the Carpet

When mold spores find the right conditions it takes them 24-48 hours to start growing. Follow these steps to prevent mold from growing on the carpet and other areas of your home:

  • Control humidity levels in your home – The CDC recommends that humidity levels should stay at 30% to 50% at all times. It is recommended to use a dehumidifier or an air conditioner to maintain humidity levels, especially during humid months.
  • Regularly look for signs of leakage in the house, especially in your home’s roof, walls, or plumbing. Fix any source of leakage immediately so that mold does not have a moist environment to grow.
  • Before buying a new carpet, research carpet materials. It is best to choose one with moisture-resistant padding.
  • If you clean your carpet make sure you properly dry it.
  • It is best not to keep carpets in areas such as bathrooms or basements that tend to have more moisture.
  • Look out for any musty smells and discoloration in your carpets since these are the first signs of mold growth in carpets.
  • Hang wet towels and dry them properly after use. It is better to wash them every week to remove any fungal growth.
  • Keep your home well-ventilated. Install exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom, that vent outside your home. The clothes dryer should also vent outside.

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Final Thoughts on Mold on Carpet

Anti-fungal products available commercially use a range of chemicals and fungicides that could be harmful to pets, children, and the environment. You can easily follow natural techniques using household equipment to eliminate mold growth from your carpets.

It is recommended to wear gloves, a face mask, and goggles when you try out any remedy for mold on carpet removal so that you don’t end up inhaling any harmful toxins or spores from the infected area.   

One point to keep in mind is that natural remedies usually work for light mold growth. For instance, a mold growth of 3 by 3 feet can be handled at home. However, If the mold growth covers an area of more than 10 square feet it is preferable to get a professional’s help or replace the carpet.

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