Moldy Carpets: How to Recognize and Treat Them
Carpeting has both aesthetic and practical applications. On the aesthetic side, it can make a home seem much warmer and more welcoming. And on the practical side, it feels great underfoot and can help retain heat during the winter. But sometimes water can get into the carpeting and promote the growth of mold. Mold in the carpeting is more than an inconvenience. It can be a very real health hazard. Moldy carpets can produce respiratory problems including bronchitis and asthma and aggravate existing allergies. Below the team at Service First Carpet Cleaning will look at the causes of moldy carpets, how to tell if you have moldy carpets, and what to do about it.
Potential Causes of Moldy Carpets
Mold may appear in your carpets for a variety of reasons, including the following.
- Humid air — Mold thrives in moist environments. If the weather has been particularly wet lately enough moisture may have accumulated in the carpeting to host the bacteria that produce mold. It doesn't take much, that's for sure. If you are planning to lay down carpeting anywhere near the bathroom you might want to reconsider simply because the bathroom is the wettest room in the house and moisture from the bathroom often spills out into adjoining areas.
- Amateur rug cleaning services — There are a lot of people offering rug cleaning these days but not all of them are qualified to do so. Some are just guys out to make a few bucks on the side. While we would not begrudge anyone their right to make a living the fact is unqualified rug cleaners often do more harm than good. They will often use a rented wet vac and fail to remove all the water. As a result, mold propagates in the pile and the space between the carpet and the hard flooring.
- Flooding — Most people's perception of Wyoming is that it's a high, arid plain. Those of us who live here understand that flooding can be, and often is, a major problem. If your home has been hit by flooding - even if the flooding never made it past the basement - the increased moisture inside the house can accumulate in the carpeting and provide a safe haven for mold.
Other reasons your carpets may become moldy include leaky pipes in the house, spills that were never properly sopped up, cheap padding that is not moisture-resistant, and untreated pet stains. Pet urine will actually absorb additional moisture from the air and in time produce mold colonies in the carpet.
Why You Should Care About Mold in Your Carpets
Mold is often thought of as little more than an unpleasant nuisance. In reality, mold spores endanger human health. In the short term mold spores can produce allergic reactions including sneezing, irritated eyes, a runny nose, and even skin rashes. In the long term inhaling mold spores for days, weeks, and months on end can lead to chronic headaches, coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and dangerous lung infections.
How to Tell if You Have Mold in Your Carpets
Here at Service First Carpet Cleaning, we encounter moldy carpets all the time. In many cases, the homeowner is unaware that the musty odor they've been living with is emanating from the carpets. Instead, they think it's coming from the basement or outside. But a musty smell is just one way to tell if mold has set up shop in your carpeting. Here are some other signs.
- Discoloration of the carpet — If one part of your carpet is discolored it is likely hosting a mold colony. Someone may have spilled a drink there and neglected to deal with it. Or a pet may have relieved themselves there. Or perhaps the roof is leaking in that area.
- Sudden allergy symptoms — If a member of your household is suddenly exhibiting allergy symptoms when they never did before, there's a good chance mold is to blame.
- Black or greenish spots on the carpet — The lighter the color of the carpet the easier this sign is to spot. That said, if you notice black or green spots on any part of your carpeting it's a sure sign that mold has taken hold.
If you notice any of the above signs of a mold infestation you should not hesitate to address the issue. The health of everyone in the house (including the pets) depends on it. But what's the best way to address moldy carpets?
How to Deal With Moldy Carpets
If your home has been subjected to extensive flooding you likely have little choice but to scrap your existing carpet and install new carpeting after the house has dried out completely. But in less severe cases you have several options for dealing with a mold infestation.
- Use a dehumidifier — If the likely cause of the mold is a damp environment it's a good idea to invest in a dehumidifier and use it. Make sure you get one that is capable of drying out your space and don't hesitate to put it to regular use. A dehumidifier itself may not solve the mold problem but it's an important part of an overall anti-mold strategy.
- Use an anti-fungal spray — If you've tried alternative methods and they haven't solve the problem, consider using an anti-fungal spray. You should be able to find one at your local hardware store. If you don't have a local hardware store try the nearest home improvement center.
- Call Service First — If you just don't have the time or inclination to deal with mold in your carpets contact the pros at Service First. We'll assess the situation and determine the best way to proceed. If your carpet can be saved, we'll save it. If the carpet needs to be replaced we'll be straight with you and tell you.
Keep in mind too that if the mold is firmly entrenched in the backing of the carpet you may need to replace the backing.
Trust Service First Rug Cleaning for All Your Carpet Care Needs
One of the best ways to prevent mold in your carpets is to make sure you always work with qualified carpet cleaning companies like Service First. We've been helping folks in Cheyenne, WY keep their homes and businesses looking great for more than 15 years and always provide expert service at competitive rates. Visit our website's page on the carpet cleaning services we offer to learn more about our process, or call our team at (307) 286-6195 and discover the difference professional carpet cleaning makes.