by Michael Carlson on 07/05/12
I've been a carpet cleaner for long time and I have seen and cleaned up some pretty bad stuff. Some times it amazes me how bad people will let a situation become before they do something about it.
One of these situations is mold or mildew in the carpets, padding and sub flooring.
Mold is not harmful to everyone but it has been shown that children and people with either allergies or with respiratory conditions are susceptible to illness because of mold. I know over the many years of carpet cleaning that people tell us that they and their children begin to have cold like symptoms that would not go away after they had had some flooding or noticed a musty damp odor in their home. For some people with mold allergies mold can be a serious health issue.
Certain areas are most susceptible to mold and mildew. In areas were there could be water leaking, in basements bathrooms and in areas that get damp and do not have good light or air circulation. One area most people might not think of is at the base of sliding glass doors. If there is not a tight seal, water could be getting under the carpet.
If you have ever had a flooding problem even a small one such as a toilet over flow you may have problems if you have not properly cleaned and dried the area. Many times people will just get the carpet dry and think the problem is solved. The bigger problem is the padding under the carpet which is basically just a big sponge. You have about 35 hours to have the carpets, the padding and the sub floor completely dry before mold will start to develop. If the flooding is from a dirty water source such as sewage, washing and dish washing machines it is even more important to clean and dry the area quickly. With a dirty water source not only are you needing to dry the area but you need to disinfect it as well. With dirty water it is usually best to pull up the carpet and and remove the padding. The padding is the most difficult thing to disinfect and to dry.
If you walk into an area of your home and you can smell that dank stale musty smell then you need to take actions to find the affected area.
One tool that could be helpful is a moisture detector. If you find moisture where it should not be then that is an area to clean.
My area of expertise in mold removal is in removing mold from carpeting. If you have mold in other areas I would recommend you research how to remove mold from your affected surfaces. Going to a professional source is much better than than learning what the average non experts recommends. It seems that there is often just as much bad advice as good advice in some of those "how to" websites.
For removing mold from carpets the first step is to decide if the carpets are worth saving. A long standing mold problem will mean that more than likely you will need to simply remove that carpet. If this is an area that will potentially be susceptible to flooding or staying damp in the future you might want to consider an alternative to carpet in that area. If your carpets are black with mold or the carpet is damaged and falling apart it is better to replace that piece.
When working with mold be certain to use all appropriate safety precautions such as rubber gloves, masks and safety glasses. Take a minute to research what safety precautions to use. One of the most commonly used household products that is used to remove mold is bleach. Bleach works great at a one cup of bleach to one gallon of water ratio for the hard surface areas but if you get it on the carpet it may bleach the color from the carpets. I would suggest that you go to your local carpet cleaning supply store and ask for a product that removes mold from both carpets and hard surfaces. This will be much easier and safer to use.
Follow the instruction that come with the product that you purchase.
The most important actions that need to be taken are.
Remove padding and throw away.
Apply mold remediation product.
Extract as much mold from carpets and sub floor as possible.
Reapply mold remediation product. Allow to dry.
Repeat these steps as seems necessary.
Seal sub floor.
Install new padding.
Often times the tack strip will need to be replaced as well.
Thoroughly clean carpet.
I hope this helps you to take care of your mold problems.
If you are sensitive to mold or uncertain in your ability to handle this problem yourself I would recommend you hire a professional carpet cleaner. You might want to Google mold remediation and hire a company with expertise in this area. Your average carpet cleaner may not have the knowledge to do this job properly. ,In Anchorage of course I would recommend you call us, Power Clean Carpet Cleaning at 907-346-4000. See our website at www.akpowerclean.com