11 Steps to Remove Mildew from Carpet

Removing mildew from the carpet is no small task and requires a lot of patience, time, and effort. Keep in mind that even though you may have killed the mold and sanitized the carpet, not all mold stains come out of carpet fibers.

11 Steps to Remove Mildew from Carpet:

Step 1. Recognize the Signs of Carpet Mold

Before you begin the steps of removing mildew from the carpet, you first need to make sure that mildew, also known as mold, is what you’re really seeing.

Cleaning mold on carpet.

What Does Mold on Carpet Look Like?

Mold on the carpet looks like little black, green, or white spots and indicates mold growth that has been there for a while. These areas of mold show up in different sizes, such as spots or large discolored patches. Lift up the carpet so you can see if the padding is affected.

Mold is also famous for its musty smells, and a musty odor will likely accompany the mold spots.

Step 2: Establish How the Mold Problem Started

Cleaning the mold is one thing, but unless you’ve figured out the problem that caused the mold in the first place, you’re wasting your time.

Common causes of indoor mold on a carpet are:

  • A plumbing leak inside the wall spread to the carpet
  • A roof leak
  • Excess humidity in a home
  • Water spilled onto the carpet and did not dry

These are just a few causes of mold on a carpet. We will cover how to prevent mold on a carpet later in this article.

For now, you need to be sure you know where the moisture that caused the mold is coming from and fix the cause of the water damage before you even think of cleaning your carpet.

Until the cause of the problem is addressed, the carpet mold will be there to stay.

Step 3: Wear Gloves and a Face Mask

Gloves and a face mask are recommended when cleaning mold out of a carpet. Inhaling mold spores can cause serious side effects like wheezing, coughing up bloody phlegm, and trouble breathing in people with serious lung problems like asthma or COPD, and other health issues.

Most people have only a minor allergic reaction to mold if any reaction at all. Allergy-like symptoms include sneezing, coughing, a sore throat, itchy eyes, or even a skin rash.

The CDC and the EPA both consider mold exposure to be a potential health hazard, so it’s always best to be safe.

Step 4: Ventilate the Area

Before moving things too much, open a few windows. Cleaning the carpet will require lifting it up, and this process will toss countless mold spores into the air to then travel and land in different areas of your home.

Step 5: Hang Plastic Drops

If you’re confident you have a large mold infestation on your hands and it’s more than a light mold situation, you may consider replacing your carpet rather than fussing with the hassle of trying to clean it.

With that said, if you’re dealing with a larger mold area, you’ll want to hang plastic drops around the mold-infested area of the carpet to contain the mold spores in that one area.

The last thing you want is to start lifting your carpet to see what’s underneath to be met with mold dust flying all over the place from a project you didn’t realize was so bad until you looked underneath.

Step 6. Lift the Carpet to Look Underneath

If at all possible, you will need to lift the carpet up to get a good look underneath. You will need to know the extent of the moisture damage, as well as leave it lifted to allow the carpet to dry.

Mold loves to grow on carpets because they trap moisture inside their fibers and padding below. Pay close attention to whether the moisture has made its way down to the floorboards.

Use paper towels to absorb any excess moisture you may notice.

It’s important to see the extent of what you’re dealing with.

Step 7. Rent a Vacuum with a HEPA Filter

You will want to vacuum up as much of the loose mold as possible, using a firm scrub brush to scrub away the built-up mold. A regular vacuum cleaner without a HEPA filter may not be able to contain mold spores.

Be sure to discard the collected debris from the rented vacuum into the trash outside after use to not expose the house to its contents.

Step 8. Clean the Affected Mold from the Carpet

There are a variety of cleaning techniques you can use, depending on your preference. Listed below are a few options that will clean as well as take care of that musty odor:

White Vinegar and Baking Soda Method

  • Fill a spray bottle with vinegar.
  • Spray vinegar thoroughly onto the mold, letting sit for 60 minutes.
  • Gently scrub, rinsing with warm water.
  • Now, mix two cups of water with one teaspoon of baking soda in a separate spray bottle.
  • Spray the baking soda mixture onto the carpet and scrub with a stiff scrub brush.
  • Rinse with clean water.
  • Vinegar is well-known for getting rid of musty smells.
  • Using the vinegar solution again, spray the carpet again letting the area air dry thoroughly.
  • Use clean towels and paper towels to help absorb moisture after cleaning the carpet to help speed up the drying process a bit.

Purchase an Anti-Fungal Spray

Another option is to purchase an anti-fungal spray specifically made for cleaning carpets, following its directions for best results.

Hire a Professional Steam Cleaning Service

If you’re not feeling that ambitious, you can always hire a professional service to come out and clean for you. You’ll want to ask them about any issues you see under the carpet so that area can also be addressed.

Steam cleaners are also available to rent at many local grocery and department stores. Yet perhaps the investment of hiring a carpet cleaning service may just be worth it this time around.

Hydrogen Peroxide

According to Healthline, hydrogen peroxide (3%) is a great mold killer, as it breaks down the mold’s proteins and DNA. Simply pour hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle and use that in place of the vinegar and baking soda.

Step 9: Use a Fan

Allow your carpet to dry completely before laying it back down. Otherwise, moisture will be trapped and the mold problem will happen all over again.

Step 10: Use a Dehumidifier

Dehumidifiers pull moisture out of the air, lowering humidity levels in your home and helping your carpet dry. Running both the fan and the dehumidifier at the same time will help your carpet dry faster.

Step 11: Prevention of Future Mold Growth

Mold and mildew thrive in moist environments. Take measures to reduce the moisture in your home by repairing all water leaks. Use the exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen, and occasionally open the windows to let in the fresh air.


Trina Greenfield, Author
SmackDown Media LLC

About the Author:
Trina Greenfield, the owner of SmackDown Media LLC, is passionate about providing information to those interested in the air quality in and around their homes. Trina writes content about things she’s passionate about, such as safe, in-home air, educational platforms for children and adults, as well as all things family-related.