White Mold on Carpet: Causes, Removal and Prevention

White mold and other types of mold can find their way into the home in various ways. Mold spores are airborne and can also be carried around on objects and even in water. If your carpet tends to be dump most times, white mold will quickly set in it. Luckily, you can remove white mold from the carpet quite easily.

Remove white mold from your carpet by generously sprinkling baking soda on the carpet followed by a generous spray of white vinegar. Scrub the carpet with a stiff brush then dry it up with a blowdryer. Finish by vacuuming it with a HEPA vacuum cleaner. Don’t rinse the carpet with water.

White Mold on Carpet

What causes white mold on carpet?

White mold is a group of fungi that may appear white, gray, or green. Like all types of mold, white mold spores float in the air and can also be transferred to the carpet through water, cloths, and other means. 

Once on your carpet, it requires moist conditions to germinate and spread. Moisture on the carpet can be provided by different sources including a poorly-dried carpet, water leaks from pipes, poo and pee from your pet, and leaking houseplants. Generally, high humidity is also enough to keep the moisture growing. 

Mold in carpet from water damage is one of the most common causes of white mold on carpets. With carpets made of small fibers, water will allow mold to grow within the fibers. Cleaning it off will be difficult. The carpet can start rotting if no action is taken. Pictures of white mold show a whitish film on the carpet which, when left to grow, becomes a white rot. 

Is white mold dangerous?

Similar to black mold, white mold causes various health issues including dizziness, headaches, respiratory infections, allergic reactions, and irritations of the skin and eyes. Those with asthma are at the highest risk given how white mold (and mold in general) increases the frequency and severity of asthma attacks. 

Signs and symptoms of white mold

It may not be obvious to see white mold on your carpet or other types of carpet fungus. This is because fungi on fibrous surfaces such as carpets will grow on the underside and only appear on the top when it has grown extensively. 

Some of the signs and symptoms of white mold include the following:

Musty odor

The first sign of all kinds of mold and mildew is a musty odor. Once you sense any musty and earthy odor in the house, you should immediately start checking the surfaces in your home for other signs of mold. 

Discolored patches on the carpet

Another sign that your carpet has white mold is the presence of discolored patches on the carpet. Unless you once poured bleach on a section of the carpet, mold also discolors fabrics and your carpet is no exception. In the case of white mold, it might be hard to notice the discoloring especially if the carpet has light colors. 

Respiratory issues

Those with allergies and respiratory issues such as asthma and fever will experience increased symptoms when there’s mold in the house. Besides making these conditions worse, white mold will also make you itch and generally make the house stuffy. 

How to get white mold out of the carpet

If you want to find out what kills mold and mildew in carpets, the answer depends on the type of carpet, the extent of mold growth, and the time taken to remove the mold. To remove white mold from a carpet, use the following methods:

Baking soda and vinegar

The best method to get mold out of carpets without bleach is to use baking soda and vinegar. These are common household items that don’t damage the carpet and can be used on just about any type of carpet. 

Using baking soda and vinegar is also a natural carpet cleaning method that won’t harm the environment. Besides that, this combination also eliminates the musty odor of mold and mildew. 

Clean white mold from your carpet as follows:

  1. Sprinkle a reasonable amount of baking soda on the carpet. 
  2. Pour the white vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray it on the baking soda in reasonable amounts to wet all the baking soda. 
  3. After 15 minutes, brush the carpet with a stiff brush to loosen up the mold. 
  4. Dry the carpet with a blowdryer at low air speeds to prevent spreading mold and dirt to other areas.
  5. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove any remaining debris and baking soda. 

Never rinse the carpet with water since it will only introduce water for the remaining mold spores to grow further. 

Anti fungal spray for carpet

An anti-fungal spray for carpets is highly beneficial since it acts both as a mold and mildew carpet cleaner and has anti-fungal coatings that prevent mold regrowth. There are many commercial cleaners in this category such as borax which do a great job. However, you should be careful which one you use depending on its contents and the type of carpet you have.

Use an anti-fungal treatment for your carpet as follows:

  1. Spray the anti-fungal treatment on the affected area of the carpet and about 6 inches around it. Make sure you saturate the affected area. 
  2. Use a dry rag to bloat out the area. 
  3. Let it dry. 

For this procedure, avoid walking on the carpet while cleaning it as you may spread the mold spores around the carpet and the house at large. Also, avoid using bathroom and kitchen anti-fungal cleaners on your carpet unless stated so in the instructions. Some may discolor your carpet as they may contain bleach. While you can remove mold with bleach, it’s not the best for fabrics such as those used to make carpets.

Steam cleaner

A steam cleaner is a very effective carpet mildew remover which also works great for removing white mold. If you don’t have a steam cleaner, you can rent one or take your carpet to professional steam cleaners. 

Steam clean your carpet as follows:

  1. Connect the steam cleaner to a source of power. 
  2. Apply heat and steam to each affected section for at least 12 seconds then move to the next spot. 
  3. Dry the carpet immediately to avoid mold regrowth. A blow dryer is the best option to prevent moisture from staying in the carpet and encouraging mold regrowth. 

Repeat the procedure every month until you’re sure the mold is gone. Make sure the type of carpet you have can withstand the level of heat applied by the steam cleaner. 

HEPA vacuum cleaner

HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters remove at least 99.97% of particles at 0.3 micrometers or larger. When such a filter is fitted onto a vacuum cleaner, it can be effectively used to clean mold spores which are between 4 and 20 microns (micrometers)

HEPA vacuum cleaners are to be ideally used after other methods to get rid of the white mold from the carpet since they’re not the most effective at it. Rather, they’re to be used to remove the remaining mold and mold spores from the carpet and the surrounding areas. 

Get rid of the carpet

At times, the white mold is so extensive that cleaning it out of the carpet is impossible. This is the case especially for thick carpets whereby the mold sends out its fibers within the carpet fibers. In such a case, simply discard the carpet, clean the floor and get a new carpet. 

When discarding the carpet, it’s best to burn it to prevent the spread of mold in other areas in the home. You should also place it in a plastic bag before carrying it out of the house. Remove and discard the pad underneath the carpet as well. 

You can also cut the part of the carpet infested with mold. When cutting off the moldy part of the carpet, cut at least 12 inches past the section with mold for the best results. Any closer than that and the good sections may also have germinating mold spores which will simply infest the rest of the carpet. 

Hire professional carpet cleaners

Professional carpet cleaners have the tools and skills necessary to clean and prevent white mold and all other types of mold from the household. While it’s costlier than doing it yourself, mold remediation is the best way to get rid of white mold from the house. If the mold covers sections that are more than 5 feet in size, call for an expert. If the backing has more that’s more than 2 feet wide, replace it with new backing. 

How to prevent mold growth on the carpet

To keep away mold before it gets into your house or after cleaning, follow these tips:

  • Use a dehumidifier to keep the moisture below 50%. 
  • Fix all leaking taps, pipes and other sources of liquids in the home. 
  • Don’t place potted plants directly on the carpet. Rather, place them on a waterproof surface on the carpet or elsewhere. 
  • Use glazed pots for your plants not ones made of terra-cotta.
  • Train your pet not to relieve itself on the carpet. If it does frequently, use sprays that make the carpet less appealing to the pet. 
  • Avoid placing firewood on the carpet. Instead, place a waterproof item below the firewood. 
  • Use a HEPA air filter in the home to remove any mod spores fro the air. 
  • Use a HEPA vacuum cleaner to remove mold spores from the carpet before they germinate and spread. 
  • Keep the house ventilated with air conditioners or by leaving the doors and windows open during the day to prevent the accumulation of humidity. 

With these tips, keeping moisture away from your carpet will be easy since it’s the main step towards preventing white mold growth on the carpet. While it’s near impossible to keep mold spores away, they still need water to grow. As such, keeping surfaces dry is the best way to prevent mold growth.