Mold on Carpet: The Risks of Indoor Mold and How to Test for It
If you have carpet in your home, then you know how challenging it can be to keep it clean and dry at all times. Carpet can absorb moisture when people walk into a home after a rainy day, spill a drink, or simply if the air is humid. The problem is moist carpets are one of the most ideal places for indoor mold to grow.
It only takes 24 to 48 hours for mold spore to begin to grow on damp carpeting. Indoor mold can cause permanent damage to a home as well as health troubles and allergies in people. Mold on carpet can grow rapidly and be incredibly dangerous if you don’t detect and get rid of it quickly.
Let’s examine the dangers carpet mold can pose to your health as well as how it can be tested and prevented in a home.
How Does this Create a Problem?
Mold and mildew can grow within 48 to 72 hours in a saturated carpet pad. They thrive on porous materials that are moist and not ventilated. To put it together, it is very difficult to eliminate mold and mildew from porous materials such as spongy carpet pads. Both mold and mildew are living organisms and can spread rapidly when they start growing.
Even if a dirty carpet is eventually dry, mold and mildew remain a problem. Besides a persistent musty smell, toxic spores are also released into the air you and your family breathe. This can cause health problems, especially in infants and children, the elderly, and people with allergies, asthma, or other respiratory illnesses.
1. Mold on Carpet Can Cause Health Problems
Thousands of different mold types could be hiding in your carpet. Some of the molds hiding in your house can cause allergies, cancer, respiratory diseases, and even death.
You might have moldy carpet if you or someone in your house starts to display allergies or sudden illnesses. Carpet mold can produce or trigger allergic reactions abruptly and an estimated 10% of Americans are fully allergic to mold. People who are vulnerable to airborne allergies may develop respiratory illnesses or other symptoms such as:
- Eye irritation
- Skin irritation
- Sore throat
- Stuffy nose
Mold exposure can be especially dangerous to children and people who are immuno-compromised. According to the CDC, people who have a weakened immune system are at greater risk of developing a lung infection, respiratory illness, or (in rare cases) dying from mold exposure.
Children are also at a greater risk of developing respiratory illnesses from mold as their lungs are not fully developed. Studies have suggested that children who live in moldy homes are 30 to 50% more likely to develop asthma than those who live in a mold-free home.
Even adults who have zero underlying health conditions can develop health troubles from carpet mold, especially if there is a lot in a home. Too much mold exposure can cause anxiety, depression, and memory loss – sometimes to the healthiest of people.
2. Odors Might Indicate Mold on Carpet
Oftentimes, people can smell carpet mold before they can see it on the surface. This is because musty odors occur in the growing stages of mold. Mold odor is caused by MVOC’s (Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds), which is the off-gassing of mold spores as they feed and reproduce.
Musty odor from mold indicates that your home has poor air quality. Airborne mold spores can enter through your nose and mouth, which is potentially hazardous to your health. If you smell musty odors coming from your carpet, you should have it tested for mold immediately to prevent the situation from getting worse.
3. Mold Might Be Visible on Carpet
When carpet mold is in its advanced stages of growth, you will be able to see it on the surface. Carpet mold is typically visible in the form of green, white, or black spots.
Your home likely has significant mold growth when you can start to see carpet mold. The area underneath your carpet is where mold starts to form and causes discoloration. When it surfaces, it means the issue has been going on for a while.
Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done to clean and remove mold from the carpet, especially if it has grown so much that it’s visible. Instead, the moldy carpet should be removed from the home, to prevent additional growth, and replaced with brand new carpet.
4. Solutions to Carpet Mold Growth
In many cases, carpet mold can be prevented. Here’s what you can do.
A. Sensible Installation
It is best to avoid installing carpet in areas of your home that are more susceptible to moisture. Carpet in bathrooms, for instance, will easily turn into a breeding ground for mold as water is constantly being used in that area of the home.
Other areas of your home that shouldn’t be carpeted include basements, crawlspaces, and kitchens. These areas of the home are frequently exposed to moisture and humid air, which almost guarantees that you would have moldy carpets there.
Mold cannot grow on synthetic fibers. So if you are planning on installing carpet in your home, it’s best to go with synthetic. Keep in mind that mold can still grow on the dirt that gets trapped in your synthetic carpeting, so you will still want to keep it as clean as possible.
B. High-Quality Padding
When mold starts to grow on carpet, it can work its way down and cause damage to the floor and baseboards of a home. This is why you must install high-quality padding between the floor and the carpet.
One of the best padding types you can install is rubber carpet padding. This padding has anti-microbial properties that can kill or stop mold from growing. It is slightly more expensive than other padding options, but it’s worth every dime to keep your carpet from molding and prevent expensive removals.
C. Clean Carpets
Some studies suggest that when it comes to carpet mold, dirt is just as much of a contributing factor as moisture. This is because dirt itself contains mold spores and dirt is a hygroscopic material, which means it soaks up any available moisture.
Since dirty carpets increase the chances of mold, you must keep them properly cleaned. It’s recommended that you vacuum your indoor carpet and rugs 1-2 times a week to gather up dirt and dust. In addition, carpets and other indoor floorings should be professionally deep cleaned every 12-18 months to pick up any hard-to-reach dirt and dust.
Keep in mind that if your carpet has already been infested by mold, you cannot simply clean it off. Instead, you will have to remove and throw out the moldy carpet. You may even need to hire professionals to make repairs to the floor or baseboards underneath as carpet mold can intrude the areas.
D. Professional Testing
You can purchase an at-home mold test; however, these tests are known to be inaccurate. Some unopened at-home tests have even been moldy upon purchase.
If you want accurate and detailed mold test results, the best course of action you can take is hiring a professional mold inspection company. With mold inspections, trained professionals will test your carpet, as well as the other common areas of a home where mold can grow.
This is where we come in.
GPMI provides a professional mold inspection and testing service in southern California. Our mold inspectors are all ACAC certified and trained to test for indoor mold, including those found in carpets.
Our experts will conduct a comprehensive visual inspection of your home before running our tests. This helps us determine if there is mold growth in common damp areas such as carpets, bathrooms, underneath sinks, basements, crawlspaces, and more. Mold often hides in dark and hidden areas, which our team is trained to inspect.
In cases where mold is less obvious, we use technology to aid in our search. These tools include moisture meters which help us find damp areas of a home. We also use thermal imaging devices to identify cooler areas in a home that might have resulted from water damage or leaks.
We test for mold using a variety of methods, including:
- Direct Sample: This test is done when there are visible mold-like substances on a carpet or other area of the home.
- Air Quality Testing: This test gives homeowners an understanding of the type and quantity of mold spores in the air, too much can be dangerous.
- DNA/ERMI/SIM Mold Screen Testing: This test tells homeowners the types of mold inside their homes. It also identifies where the mold is growing from and if it’s causing any structural damage.
After we test the entire home for mold, we create a detailed written report of our findings. This report includes a description of the types of molds found, where they are growing from, and more. If the indoor mold we find in your home is causing any structural damage, you will need to show this report to a professional mold remedy company- so they know where and what to remove.
Carpet mold can damage your home and put you and your family at risk. If your carpet has been exposed to moisture, flooding, or other forms of moisture, we recommend that you have a professional mold inspection company test for mold growth. Professional mold inspections are accurate, quick, and will prevent your family from living in a dangerous environment.