In one of the more shocking studies undertaken by a major university, researchers at Ohio State University have determined that it takes as little as forty-eight hours for mold to grow on wet carpet.
Under normal conditions, an area of carpet measuring five feet by three feet can be completely covered in mold within ten days. “This is the ideal environment for mold to proliferate: dark and damp,” said Dr. Charles Bartholomew, head of the study.
Mold can grow on virtually any surface made of organic material, which is why scientists have been able to culture it from the surfaces of rocks. However, carpets remain one of its favorite breeding grounds because they offer so many different nutrients for mold to feed on.
In this article, we’ll share some tips and tricks about what you can do to prevent water damage in your home, and what to do when it does occur.
What Can Mold Do To You?
When you’re trying to fix up your home, whether it’s because of damage caused by a flood or something else entirely, mold is often one of the last things on your mind. You may think that mold isn’t something to worry about because it’s just a bit of mildew, or because you don’t have it growing anywhere inside your home at this time.
However, the truth is that even if you are not noticing any problems now, mold can still pose significant dangers to you and your family.
Some symptoms moldy carpets can cause are:
- Allergic reactions,
- Nasal and sinus congestion, coughing and wheezing, skin irritation, watery eyes
- Wheezing, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing; chest tightness; fever; chills; coughing; headache; dizziness
People who are very young or elderly or those with existing respiratory ailments such as asthma may be more prone to side effects of mold exposure.
Mold growth on your carpet may be damaging to the fibers themselves, but it is also very dangerous for human beings. This is because even the mildest types of mold can cause problems such as nasal and sinus congestion, throat irritation, eye irritation, coughing and sneezing and even asthma attacks. There are also severe risks in the form of respiratory infections, lung damage and in some cases even death.
Carpet Mold, Wet Carpets, and How to Fix It
While it’s true that there are some pretty unpleasant symptoms associated with carpet mold, that’s not the only reason you should want to get rid of it. In fact, there are very real health risks with mold growth in general, and this is where things can get quite dangerous for everyone in your home. Mold spores themselves carry all sorts of toxic chemicals such as mycotoxins (these can cause serious liver damage), ochratoxin (which can cause kidney damage) and even microcystins, which are known to be carcinogenic. Carpet is a breeding ground for mold because of the moisture, warmth and darkness which encourage its growth.
When these chemicals become airborne, they can lead to serious respiratory problems, including chronic bronchitis. It’s even been shown that exposure to mold in the home can contribute to development of asthma in children.
Thankfully, carpet mold isn’t caused just by spilling your glass of water. It’s usually caused by larger disasters, such as home flooding (from storms or overflowing sinks), a burst pipe, and even plumbing leaks. And no matter what causes the problem, the only way to truly protect yourself is through cleaning up any affected areas as quickly as possible.
Cleaning Your Carpet to Prevent Mold Growth
If you want to make sure that your carpet does not suffer from mold damage, the first thing you should do is start a regular vacuuming routine. In this way, you will get rid of any mold spores that accumulate on your flooring before they get an opportunity to spread and become a problem.
In addition to this, there are quite a few different things you can do to make your home inhospitable to mold growth, including:
- Discard any excess water that has collected in the area. If you have standing water or wet areas on your carpet, you should clean these up as soon as possible. This means either getting rid of the water by sucking it up with a wet vacuum cleaner or by mopping the area with a damp mop.
- Dry wet carpets as quickly as possible.
- Use fans to help dry out any damp areas of your carpet. If you have water that has already seeped into your carpet, mould will almost certainly grow if it’s warm and moist in there. You can prevent this from happening by setting up some fans around the area, so that air can circulate properly. Air movers are also good for this purpose.
- Wash your rugs regularly. This will not only help you remove any mold spores that have accumulated there but also give you a chance to do some deep cleaning of the fabric fibers of your carpets, which can then lead to better air quality throughout your home.
- Keep your house relatively cool. Mold spores are known to grow best in warm temperatures. If you want to prevent them from growing, it pays to keep your home temperature down.
- The Tragedy of Carpet mold is very real. Not only can this problem cause an immediate health risk for everyone in the house, but it can also contribute towards asthma among young children in the home. Because of this, everyone in your family deserves to be safe from carpet mold damage.
- If you want to make sure that your loved ones are truly protected, start a regular vacuuming routine and clean up any affected areas immediately when they do appear. This is also another good reason to check behind your sofas and other heavy pieces of furniture, because this is a common place where mold spores settle down and grow undetected for a long time.
- Air out your living space. This is a simple enough way to prevent mold from growing in your carpets. Don’t keep the doors and windows closed all the time. Make sure you let fresh air circulate in your home every day, so that your family’s lungs remain healthy and strong.