You might already know some of the dangers of having mold in the home. While toxic mold is an immediate health concern, even non-toxic forms of mold can cause respiratory illnesses and exacerbate asthma. In addition, the damp smell of mold and mildew is unpleasant and will make your home feel and smell less than welcoming. If you have wall-to-wall carpet or area rugs, you might be surprised to learn that they can harbor mold. Here are some ways to keep your carpet mold-free all year long.
Check Your Humidity
One reason carpet can get moldy is because the air indoors is humid. This is particularly true if you have carpeting on the basement level of your home or if you live in a climate that tends to be humid for long periods of time. One way you can mitigate this problem is by running a dehumidifier or a central air conditioning unit. These will keep the air drier and less likely to promote mold growth in the carpets.
Change the Flooring in Some Rooms
There are some places in the home where carpeting is more likely to get moldy. These include, as previously mentioned, the basement, as well as the kitchen and bathroom. While most homes do not have carpet in the kitchen and bathrooms, some do. If yours is one of them, consider having the carpet switched out for tile, wood, or inexpensive laminate. This will ensure that dripping water from the sink, toilet, and tub does not create mold and other unpleasant odors in the flooring.
Another idea is to put down vinyl runners in the carpeted entryway and in the hallway directly in front of the bathrooms. This will reduce the amount of moisture that people and pets track onto the carpets.
Choose the Right Cleaning Method
Many people like to have their carpets professionally cleaned on an annual basis. This is a great idea because professional carpet cleaners can remove the odors and dirt associated with having carpet in the home. The problem is that if you choose steam-cleaning, your carpet is likely to remain damp for several days. This provides an excellent breeding ground for mold. Instead, talk to your carpet cleaner about dry carpet cleaning, which is sometimes called chem-dry cleaning. This method uses less water and allows the carpet to dry within a few hours, leading to a greatly minimized chance of developing mold.
Keep the Carpets Cleaner
Changing a few habits in your home might keep dirt, sugar, and sticky messes out of your carpet. Since these are what enable mold to grow, you will have less of a chance of experiencing that tell-tale mildew odor. Make a "no food or drinks in the bedrooms" rule if you have carpet in the bedrooms, for example. If you have small children, insist that they keep their food and drinks at the kitchen or dining room table. Consider banning shoes being worn in the home. If you have pets that go outside, wipe off their feet on wet days so they don't track moisture onto the carpets.
Keeping your carpets mold-free can take a bit of extra work, but once you eliminate excess humidity, stop people and animals from getting moisture into the carpet, and, when necessary, change out the flooring in rooms that are particularly susceptible to mold, you'll see that it's much easier to keep your soft flooring clean and odor-free. Also, keep in mind that you should choose carpet cleaners who use dry cleaning methods, particularly if you live in an area where humidity can keep the carpet damp for more than a few hours.