Carpets and small rugs are an important part of our households, as they boost the aesthetic beauty of the home.
But this aesthetic beauty can be ruined if not looked after properly, and if the carpet paddings below are not cleaned and kept dry.
Molds, microscopic fungal organisms, are one of the most diverse organisms and their ability to spread is no less than a wonder, with a great capability of growing at unusual places.
Wherever there is surplus moisture and favorable temperature, one can certainly expect the appearance of the tiny dots of black and greenish color, indicating that the mold has seized the opportunity of germinating.
Carpet paddings are the materials used below the carpets, and are made up of foam, nylon, fiber, and other materials.
They act as a shock absorber for the foot traffic and are exposed to the risk of infestation with molds if kept moist.
Can Black Mold Grow Under Carpet?
Due to the exceptional ability of the carpets and the carpet paddings at not only absorbing moisture, but also retaining it, they can become a favorite breeding site for molds if the situation goes unchecked.
Moreover, the area below the carpet is devoid of any light, that would further add to the advantage of mold spore germination.
This holds true for both, the small rugs, and the wall-to-wall carpets. Molds reproduce through the formation of spores, just like a plant reproduces through a seed.
Mold spores are tiny, microscopic structures, that can be carried away in the air even by a light breeze.
If moisture collects under the carpet, and the spore finds its way there, one can most likely expect the mold to sprout, resulting in its growth.
Absence of mold growth does not necessarily mean the absence of mold. Molds could be growing without any visible appearance.
There are several factors that could lead to this situation.
Poor ventilation system in a house causes the air inside to become stale and humid since it is not being replaced by the fresh air.
With no moving air to sweep away the spores of the mold, they would settle down, and the presence of moisture below the carpet would be a welcoming sight for them.
Other factors that can cause mold growth under your carpets include leaks from water pipes, flooding, or other activities that may allow the carpet to get wet.
What Kills Black Mold Under The Carpet?
In most cases, small amounts of mold growth on carpets can be treated.
However, the moisture source must be fixed, and the area dried out. For heavy growth, cleaning the carpet can be effective in killing the surface mold. However, we know that mold is a lot deeper and persistent than it appears to be.
The hyphae of the mold penetrate deeper from the surface, like the roots of a plant. Due to the ionic nature of some cleaning chemicals, they may be unable to penetrate in the pores of the material it remains outside.
Whereas the mold hyphae are deep in the pores of the material and can continue to grow.
Therefore, most chemicals like bleach remain on the surface of the padding and eventually gasses off only partially killing the mold.
Another way of killing the molds is by using a steam cleaner.
Exposing the molds to high temperature for a specific period of time is quite effective at inactivating it, the task which is achieved by the steam cleaner.
The moist heat is applied to the affected area for about 12 seconds, that would lead to approximately 90% of mold inactivation.
Along with that a mix of vinegar and baking soda can be applied to the area.
It would help to kill some of the molds and would also contribute to neutralize the musty odor from the mold-stricken carpet.
The carpet padding must be allowed to dry completely, and there must be no moisture left in the material prior to re-installation.
If the musty odor is still present in the underlayment, it should be discarded and replaced. This also applies to the carpets where the musty odor remains and if heavy mold infestation was present.
Can Mold Under The Carpet Make You Sick?
The appearance of mold growth is not only an unappealing sight, but also can result in an unhygienic environment causing allergies.
It is a common notion that mold’s presence is not taken seriously until it germinates and becomes visible, but it must be considered that mold spores float freely in the air and are as common as pollen.
Mold accumulation under the carpets can cause allergic reactions in sensitive people.
In some cases, certain mold species can also produce toxins, known as mycotoxins.
Coming into contact with molds by inhaling or touching them, can cause certain allergies in some individuals.
These individuals may exhibit symptoms like sneezing, red eyes, and runny nose, which are similar to those of hay fever.
These allergies can be immediate or delayed.
They can also result in irritation of eyes, nose, throat. These symptoms are not only limited to allergic individuals but can occur to the non-allergic as well.
Molds have the ability of provoking asthma attacks in asthma patients.
Especially while cleaning the carpet. So, care must be taken as a person is directly dealing with the mold and has a high exposure.
Mold spores dead or alive still retain the tendency to cause allergic reactions and, therefore, the removal of the molds must be done safely or by a professional.
Systemic infections are extremely rare, and do not usually occur where molds are concerned.
Can You Remove Mold from Carpet Padding?
Once the molds get into the carpet and padding, they cannot be completely removed, although many methods can considerably reduce them.
Even if the most optimal methods of mold removal are used, they would not lead to 100% mold removal, some mold or the mold spores are always left behind.
However, the unpleasant sight of the spots would be remedied to a great extent.
Steps To Get Rid Of Mold Under Carpet Pad
NOTE: Before starting the procedure, keep the area well ventilated to avoid the spread of mold spores into the other parts of the house. Also remember to use proper safety equipment (gloves, goggles and a mask)
- The surface growth can be removed using a HEPA vacuum. A non-HEPA filter vacuum can not contain the molds and should not be used for this purpose.
- Then use a hard, stiff brush to remove as much of the mold by rubbing it rigorously on the affected area.
- Further removal can be carried out by sponging the area with soap or any detergent, which is followed by wiping the area with a wet or damp cloth. Common household detergents may not have the capacity to inactivate or kill the molds, but they significantly reduce the surface tension, hence the mold is dislodged from the carpet padding by the surfactant, without killing it. The reduced surface tension of the water allows the cleaning material to penetrate deep in the pores, where the hyphae of the mold reside.
In order to avoid this situation causing such unease, preventive measures are the best way out.
Keeping the carpets and carpet padding dry should not be compromised at any cost, since absence of moisture promises the absence of mold growth.
The small rugs must be placed under the sun every now and then, not only drying it, but also leading to considerable germ reduction.
Once the carpet is infested with molds, it can be treated, but 100% removal is not guaranteed. If this is the case, sometimes these items have to be discarded.
Therefore, prevention is always better.