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Is There Mold in My Carpet?

Mold in Carpet

Carpet can add so much cozy comfort to a home. Unfortunately, like almost any surface, it is susceptible to mold. In dark, damp environments, such as underneath sinks, in appliance drip pans, inside walls near plumbing, under or around house plants, and under carpet, mold problems can develop. To keep your carpet fresh, clean, and mold-free, it is important to keep it properly maintained, occasionally inspect it for mold, and take preventative measures to fend off mold problems.

How Does Mold Happen?

Mold can develop in a lot of different ways. Maybe your child spilled something and didn’t tell you. Maybe one day when you were out, your dog or cat had an accident, and you didn’t know. Perhaps you are not aware there is a small plumbing leak somewhere. Mold is everywhere and once moisture is introduced, the process of mold can begin on many different types of surfaces. It only takes 24 hours for the mold to start growing once an area gets wet. Carpets are not exempt from this process.

Is There Mold in My Carpet?

You may be wondering how you can tell whether mold is in your carpet. First, carefully inspect your entire carpet. For expansive areas, it might be helpful to imagine a grid going from the front of the room to the back and from the left side of the room to the right side, and then inspect each point along the grid. If you notice any off-color areas (black, green or maybe red) on your carpet, this may be an indication of mold.

WARNING: The only truly “safe” way to identify mold in carpet is to hire a mold removal company. If you decide to investigate yourself, try not to disturb the area too much, because doing so can send mold spores into the air. Don’t touch the stain without gloves. Mold spores can cause health issues, especially for people with asthma and allergies.

If the discoloration has a sour, musty, or moldy smell, then it may be mold. If possible, pull the rug and pad up where you suspect mold. Check the layers to see if there is mold underneath, and if so, how far down the mold has gone.

What You Should Know About DIY Mold Testing Kits

There are two types of mold testing kits: air and surface. For testing mold in carpet, we recommend a surface test, which requires you collect a sample using a swab or tape. Be sure to closely follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

What Should I Do if I Have Mold in My Carpet?

The simple answer is call your carpet cleaning professional. You may be tempted to go online and try to resolve the problem using DIY methods, but why risk it? Mold can be hazardous to your health and damaging to your home, and there are many DIY methods that can cause permanent damage to your carpeting. Your carpet cleaning technician can examine the area, and as long as the problem is not widespread or excessive, they can use special equipment and solutions to thoroughly clean and sanitize the area. For more severe mold damage, they may recommend a mold remediation company.

There is no guarantee that any company, even one that specializes in mold remediation, can completely remove 100% of mold spores from carpeting. However, there are preventative measures you can take.

How Can I Prevent Carpet Mold in My Home?

Keep your carpet dry. When humidity is high, run a dehumidifier or your HVAC system (which dehumidifies the air).

Soak up spills right away.

If possible, open windows or use a fan to dry the spills as soon as possible.

Vacuum carpets regularly.

Use a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter bags. Ask your technician to make specific recommendations for how often you should vacuum your carpets, based on how much traffic your carpet gets.

Change your vacuum bags regularly, according to manufacturer instructions.

Inspect your carpet regularly for spills and stains.

Place high quality, heavy-duty mats at entrances to reduce the amount of water or moisture tracked in from outside.

Get your carpets professionally cleaned on a regular basis. Like vacuuming, ask your technician to make specific recommendations for how often you should have your carpets cleaned, based on how much traffic your carpet gets.

If you are purchasing new carpet, consider synthetic material instead of natural material like wool. Synthetic material is resistant to mold.

Your health, and that of your family and guests, as well as your home itself, are your biggest assets. Protect them both by contacting your carpet cleaning professional in this situation. Follow their lead. They know best.


This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.

Refinishing Stone

The Appearance of Stone Can (and Can’t) Be Altered

Natural stone, a restorable surface material, is complex in comparison to restorable man-made materials, such as engineered stone, solid surfaces, and concrete. Unique as a snowflake or a fingerprint, natural stone requires customized restoration methods. It all depends on the composition of the stone, where it is installed, and how it is used. When homeowners want their stone restoration technician to change the appearance of their stone in some way, the task may or may not be possible to accomplish, and in some circumstances, it may be inadvisable. Let’s look at the various ways the appearance of stone can be altered.

But First… About DIY vs Professional Services

The appearance of stone can be altered subtly or in sweeping, dramatic ways. Subtle alterations can sometimes be successfully accomplished with DIY methods. For example, one might use a marble polishing compound to easily remove a minor etch mark on marble with a polished finish. More extensive changes should always be entrusted to your professional stone restoration technician.

Changing the Level of Shine or Finish

Professional stone refinishing entails using various methods to alter the reflectivity and texture of the surface of stone. If your stone is polished, but you would prefer that it have a soft, honed finish, or if your stone has a satin finish, but you would prefer a glossy, reflective surface, in most cases your professional stone restoration technician can make it happen.

There are a variety of natural stone finishes possible, including:
  • Honed / Satin / Matte – soft, velvety shine
  • Polished – glossy, mirror-like shine
  • Brushed / Antiqued – looks textured, but is smooth to the touch
  • Texture / Hammered / Tooled / Leathered – varying degrees of roughness, depending on the finishing technique
  • Custom – a personalized combination of other finishes
  • Coatings / Enhancers / Etch Protection Treatments or Films – alter the shine or finish
 
You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Your stone restoration technician may recommend against certain types of finishes in certain circumstances. For example, natural stone needs to “breathe” and for some applications, coatings could cause spalling, pitting, flaking, or other damage to the stone. Here’s another example. For sanitary reasons, textured finishes are not suitable for food preparation areas, because the unevenness of the surface can make cleaning difficult. The bottom line is that most of the time, you can get the finish you want, but sometimes the finish you want may not be appropriate.

Changing the Color or Darkness / Lightness

Are you unhappy with the color of your stone? Perhaps exposure to UV rays have made the stone fade or caused the resins in the stone to become discolored. If your stone is stained or dyed, and some of the color is inadvertently removed, then the untreated stone will show through, giving the stone a splotchy appearance. Your stone restoration technician may be able to reapply stains or dyes. Another option might be to hone the stone to remove the stains or dyes, revealing the brand new stone underneath and then refinish the stone to the finish of your choice.

Enhancers do not actually change the color of the stone, but they do intensify the color of stone.

Sometimes there are properties inherent in the stone that affect its apparent color in different lighting scenarios. For example, if granite contains a mineral called hackmanite, then certain spots will change color from pink to gray or another light color, depending on how much light exposure it gets. With some types of stone, a slab viewed from one end of a room will appear to be a different color than when it is viewed from the other end of the room. In cases like these, stone restoration contractors can’t really do anything to resolve the problem. You may, however, try experimenting with light fixtures and controlling the level of natural light exposure.

Removing Stains, Spots, or Discolorations

When it comes to stains, spots, and discolorations, things can get really confusing. A stain is a discoloration, but a discoloration may not be a stain. The easiest way to sort things out is to remember that a stain on natural stone will always be darker than the stone itself. Most stains can be removed. If the discoloration is lighter than the stone, then this is an indication that the it is a mark is corrosion (etching) caused by an acidic substance, or a caustic mark (bleaching) caused by a strong base (alkali). Stain removal methods will be ineffective on such stone damage.

The good news is that whether your stone is stained or damaged, in most cases the problem can be resolved. Your stone restoration contractor can instruct you on cost-effective DIY methods for stain removal or attempt to remove the stain for you. If your stone is damaged, it can likely be repaired and restored.

As mentioned previously, some spots or discolorations are inherent in the stone itself. One must either learn to appreciate the beautiful imperfection of natural stone or have it replaced.

Repairing Chips, Cracks, Holes, and Other Damage

Natural stone damage can happen in many ways, from scratches caused by dragging furniture or cracks caused by dropping a heavy object to signs of wear created by normal foot traffic or use. Your fully trained and qualified stone restoration technician can restore the finish and repair the damage, in most cases. They may grind, hone, polish, use color matched polyester or epoxy to fill in missing areas, replace tiles, and other methods, depending on what problem needs to be resolved.

Sometimes small imperfections or naturally occurring features in stone are mistaken for damage, even though they have no effect on the structural integrity of the stone. These include fissures or veins that look like cracks, angular fragments of stone, inconsistent veining, holes, pits, irregular shapes or inconsistencies in thickness, mineral deposits, and other features.

Moving Seams, Altering Edges, and Other Major Changes

After natural stone countertops have been installed, major changes are either difficult or impossible for a stone restoration technician to accomplish. Fabricators, that is, the ones who size and install countertops, use very specific equipment to do their work. Restoration contractors are not equipped to rearrange or re-profile countertops, and although fabricators are equipped, their work would entail removing the countertops completely, moving them back to the shop, and then reinstalling them. This labor-intensive effort would cost more than simply having the countertops replaced and could result in irreparable damage to the stone.

Contact us to discuss the appearance of your stone. We can take into consideration the look you have in mind, the composition of the stone, where it is installed, and how it is used, and then make the best recommendations.


This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.