Carpet Mold: A Surface Approach Won’t Do

carpet mold

Carpet Mold is a common problem, especially in our Kansas City area where we have lots of basements, foundation issues, and heavy rainfalls. Most noticeably during times when there is a lot of rainfall, we see a lot of homes with leaks. Where the carpet is saturated and sometimes not discovered for some time.

When Efforts are to Only Eliminate Surface Water this is What Creates a Carpet Mold Problem and So Much More!

Unfortunately, it is often assumed that the only area of concern is the surface water they are seen. Most assume that once there is no visible water, that the problem is taken care of. Removing the surface water, however, is only the first step in a multi-step process. Water damage restoration companies follow a certain series of steps to prevent mold growth and carpet mold. Water is easily absorbed in the carpet pad, tack strips, behind baseboards and the carpet itself.

Mold only needs 24-48 to start growing. The musty odor that is common after water damage is a sign that mold is present. Mold grows and spreads in damp environments which include wet carpets, or carpets that were never dried properly. Sometimes we see property owners try to remove the water on their own in an attempt to save money. Also, during heavy rains water damage companies are so inundated that can a long time to receive service.

Often it is Bigger Than What You See

Water damage events not only saturate the carpet and pad. You also have to be concerned that water has reached wall cavities and will begin wicking up the drywall and other building materials. If the carpet, pad, concrete and porous building materials are not properly dried you will have a mold problem quickly. People who find themselves in a situation where there is carpet mold are advised to consult with a mold professional to eliminate any risk of causing mold spores to become airborne in the examination process.

After 72 Hours You Need a Mold Pro

If your water damage event was not resolved within 72 hours. You need to consult with a mold professional. Water damage restoration companies that take standard water restoration practices after the 72 hours, risk spreading mold spores throughout your home. Mold is easily airborne and must be handled carefully.

Steps to Resolving Water Damage Quickly to Prevent Mold

  1. Stop the source of water damage.
    • Turn off the water main and seek professional plumbing repair
    • Take action to stop the flow of water, if possible
  2. Access the size of the saturated area
    • Damaged areas over 50 square feet need water damage professional to properly service
  3. All water must be thoroughly extracted and removed from the area.
    • Large volumes of water require the use of professional equipment to properly remove
    • For low volumes areas, use a shop-vac and other household tools to remove water.
    • All water needs to be removed quickly
  4. Open up and pull back all saturated materials to allow airflow
    • All wet carpet needs to be pulled back
    • Remove carpet pad and dispose of. It is difficult to remove moisture from carpet pad and it is an easy breeding ground for mold
    • If water was close to any walls, the baseboards on those walls need to be removed to allow for vital airflow into the wall cavity
  5. Add direct and large volumes of air movement
    • Direct fans and all airflow under the saturated carpet and into the saturated wall cavities
    • IMPORTANT: Do NOT use fans or allow any form of air movement after 72 hours to prevent spreading mold contamination
  6. Run Dehumidifiers to remove moisture from the air
    • Make sure dehumidifiers have a water line that can direct water into a drain.
    • Dehumidifiers without a water line need to be emptied each hour
  7. Do not close up any areas until thoroughly dry
    • You need to verify that the contents and the air is completely free of moisture and humidity.
    • We recommend the use of a humidistat. Your indoor relative humidity level should be between 40-50%

Assess the Size of Your Mold Problem

If you already have mold in your carpeting or building, you’ll want to take a different approach. Your ability to remove mold out of your carpet is determined by how large of an area is moldy and how contaminated it has become. You will need to assess the carpet, baseboards and lower part of drywall to find the extent of the damage. All tack strips and carpet padding probably have mold as well and will need to be replaced. You can determine the area of the carpet affected by looking at the front and the back of the carpet. Unless there is only a small area affected less than 10 square feet the EPA recommends hiring a professional.

Small Mold Area Less than 10 Square Feet

A small area can be cleaned with very hot soapy water. The key is to thoroughly scrub and rinse both sides of the carpet and then allow it to air dry. Don’t use fans for this part of the process. Place a dehumidifier in the room and reassess after three days. If coloration or odor is still present at this time, you will need a professional to get the mold out of your carpet.  

Large Mold Area Over 10 Square Feet

If your mold problem is greater than 10 square feet it is recommended that you call a certified mold professional. Removing the molded carpet improperly can lead to distributing mold spores throughout your property, causing health problems for occupants. If you are unsure what to do, talk to a professional. They can help you make an educated decision. We recommend you read our articles about “Choosing a Mold Company: Industry Insiders Tips”.