Conventional wisdom says that moisture is the culprit for causing mold on carpet, and that ridding the carpet of moisture will take care of the mold problem. Mold and mildew on hard surfaces such as tile are hard to get rid of. But it's even worse, if not impossible, to mitigate mold and mildew on carpeting. |
Carpet mold is nasty stuff. Not only that, the mold is often found on the carpet backing, where it isn't seen until it's too late. This is only partially true. As it turns out, carpet mold is surprisingly easy to keep under control, moisture-control being only half of the answer.
Generally speaking, prevention is the best way to eradicate the problem; however, that seems to be the issue with mold — we often don't know it forming until it rears it's nasty head. Staying alert to the appearance of mold and treating it quickly is the only way to win!
Mold isn't just unsightly; mold can become a health hazard for those with allergies. But you don't even need to have allergies to be affected by mold. Toxic molds have byproducts called myoctoxins that can even harm healthy individuals.
Based on research, they found was that dirt, more than humidity, contributed to mold growth. So, carpets that were heavily or even lightly soiled bred far more mold than clean carpets. Basically put, high humidity plus dirt equals mold
Clean Carpets vs. Mold
It's worth noting that if the carpet is clean enough, it is virtually impervious to any kind of mold growth, despite the conditions. In the studies, clean nylon carpet was subjected to high temperatures and levels of humidity (80 degrees F; 80% humidity) and no mold growth occurred. Even clean carpeting that was known to have active mold spores did not have additional mold growth.
Dirt on carpeting grows mold for two reasons. First, the dirt contains mold spores. Second, dirt itself contains moisture. So, the moisture in the dirt combined with the room's ambient humidity provides a rich breeding ground for mold.
Many of commercially-prepared products in the stores — created to solve the problem — can also cause the same problems they intend to fix. So the question becomes…how can we do this without the use of harsh chemicals?
Start With the Basics
It turns out to be relatively easy to prevent mold and mildew from attacking your carpet:
Keep Humidity Low: 65% humidity and lower tends to be the perfect level for maintaining a mold-free carpet. Even 60% humidity is sometimes cited as the highest desirable level. If your house is not naturally low in humidity, install a portable dehumidifier.
Keep Temperatures Low: Temperature can contribute to mold growth in carpet, with 80 degrees F and higher is defined as high. Effective HVAC (air conditioning) will kill two birds with one stone: it both lowers humidity and temperatures. Keep Your Carpet Clean: While there is no official definition of "clean," it's assumed that a carpet vacuumed on a weekly basis with a good-quality will clean a carpet enough to inhibit mold growth.
Install Man-Made Carpet Materials: Organic carpet materials such as wool are more prone to mold growth than inorganic (man-made) carpeting such as nylon or olefin. Natural Approach
When mold is present and you need to kill it, here are a few tried and true remedies:
Tea Tree Spray *Tea tree oil is one of the best ways to kill mold naturally.
To make this spray, simply mix 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil per 1 cup of water. Load mixture into a spray bottle, shake well to combine, and spray directly on to areas of mold. Do NOT rinse.
After cleaning the mold with a mixture of castile soap and hot water. Spray a generous amount of straight white vinegar on to the problem areas.
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