How To Tell If There Is Mold Under Carpet? The Risks of Indoor Mold and How to Test for It

Helen Skeates
Helen Skeates
24 min read

The presence of mold under carpet can be detected in three ways. One of these is to look for discolouration in the carpet.

How to get rid of mold from carpets and what causes it are all covered in this article. Read all the way to the end if this excites you!

Are carpets susceptible to mold?

When you have carpet, it is susceptible to mold. Mold can grow on a wet rug in a matter of days, making them an ideal breeding ground for the fungus.

Mold spores are everywhere, and they will only grow on a surface if all of their requirements are met. Moisture, warmth, oxygen, and a food source are all necessities for them.

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How does mold on carpets affect pets?

Children and pets alike enjoy sprawling out on carpets. As a result, they would be exposed to the hazards of mold if they had a mold-contaminated carpet.

Mold exposure can cause respiratory issues and exhaustion in pets. Pulmonary bleeding may occur in some patients.

Take your dogs to the vet as soon as possible if they display these symptoms.

How does mold on carpets affect humans?

In particular, mold can have a negative impact on the health of youngsters. There is a possibility that they can cause respiratory problems in otherwise healthy children.

Some people may even acquire asthma as a result of the exposure to secondhand smoke. Running noses and coughing are among the respiratory-related side effects.

As a result of mold exposure, skin and eye irritations might occur. It may even result in headaches.

Preexisting respiratory conditions can cause shortness of breath and chest tightness in youngsters.

Signs That There Is Mold Under The Carpet

Carpets, as previously stated, are particularly susceptible to mold growth. If you suspect mold in your house, keep an eye out for the warning signs listed below.

1. Discoloration

Mold that forms beneath the carpet is usually invisible to the naked eye. It will, however, become discolored if it has spread widely.

In addition, you’ll see patches of green, black, or even white. If you see these, your carpet is likely to be infested with mold.

2. Foul odor

Your carpet’s smell will remind you of the presence of mold even if you can’t see it. One method to tell whether you have mold in your home is by the musty odor it emits.

Carpets are commonly found in living rooms, where members of the family congregate to relax and socialize. If there is a bad stench in the room, your time together will be ruined.

If you detect even the slightest whiff of a musty odor, it’s advisable to check your carpet right once.

3. Allergic reactions

Mold can cause allergic symptoms, such as a runny nose or itchy eyes, in your family members. Additionally, if these symptoms worsen after being exposed to the mold-infested carpet for an extended period of time, you’re probably dealing with mold development.

Causes of mold on carpets

Carpets are susceptible to mold because of their capacity to absorb moisture, making them a breeding ground for the fungus.

Mold thrives in a damp atmosphere because of their ability to soak up water. As you are aware, mold spores can’t be entirely eliminated from the environment because they’re everywhere.

To reduce the amount of mold spores in your home, here’s an article on how to remove mold spores from your home. However A damp environment, like your carpet, is ideal for spores to thrive.

Afterwards, they make their home there. The question remains, though, as to where all of this water comes from.

Water damage is the most common reason for carpet dampness. Flooding, leaks, and spills are all examples of water damage.

You should expect spills if you have young children or pets who like to play on your carpet. Mold development can occur if these spills aren’t cleaned up right away.

Mold contamination is inevitable if water leaks from the walls or the floor. Mold growth necessitates a wet environment.

The most efficient technique to prevent mold from growing on your carpet is to keep your property in good condition and avoid water damage from taking place.

Cleaning mold off carpets

Mold removal is a given when proper mold protection measures aren’t taken. The good news is that there is a simple method for eradicating mold from the property.

Baking soda, vinegar, tea tree oil, or a mold-removal solution are all good options to consider. Baking soda and vinegar are a good choice in this case.

The first step is to sprinkle baking soda on the mold-infested carpet and let it sit for at least 24 hours. This will aid with the baking soda’s ability to remove odors and extra moisture.

Vacuum the carpet with a HEPA vacuum. After that, use vinegar and a firm bristle brush to scrub the carpet.

In order to avoid soaking your floors with vinegar, it is best to do this outside.

To get rid of the residual mold, expose your carpet to the sun’s rays. Here’s some evidence in the form of an article on the exact temperature at which molds die.

Mold on Carpet: The Risks of Indoor Mold and How to Test for It

When it comes to maintaining a clean and dry carpet in your house, you know how difficult it can be. After a rainy day, spills, or just damp air, carpets can collect moisture and become a breeding ground for mold and mildew. The issue here is that wet carpets are one of the most conducive environments for the growth of indoor mold.

Mold spores begin to proliferate within 24 to 48 hours after exposure to damp carpet. In addition to damaging the structure of a property, mold can create a host of health issues and allergic reactions in humans when it is present. If you don’t find and remove mold on carpet right once, it can spread swiftly and become extremely harmful.

Let’s take a look at the health risks carpet mold can bring, as well as how it can be checked and prevented in a house.

How Does this Create a Problem?

Carpet pads that are drenched with water can become a breeding ground for mold and mildew in as little as 48 to 72 hours. They flourish in wet, poorly ventilated environments in porous materials. Mold and mildew are extremely difficult to remove from porous materials like carpet padding. Mold and mildew are both live creatures that can quickly spread if left unchecked.

However, mold and mildew are still an issue no matter how clean the carpet is when it’s finally dry. It’s not just the constant musty smell that you and your loved ones are exposed to; harmful spores are also being discharged into the air. Children, the elderly, and those with allergies, asthma, or other respiratory disorders are particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of this.

1. Mold on Carpet Can Cause Health Problems

It’s possible that your carpet harbors thousands of different kinds of mold. Allergic reactions, cancer, respiratory problems, and even death can be caused by mould lurking in your home.

Allergic reactions or a sudden sickness could indicate moldy carpet in your home. There are an estimated 10% of Americans who are completely allergic to mold in their carpets. Airborne allergens can cause respiratory infections and other symptoms in those who are susceptible.

  • Asthma
  • Coughing
  • An itchy eye
  • Itching and burning
  • Sneezing
  • Nose ache
  • a runny or blocked nose

Mold can pose a serious threat to youngsters and others with impaired immune systems. People with a compromised immune system are more likely to contract a lung infection, a respiratory disease, or even die as a result of mold exposure, according to the CDC.

Mold can cause respiratory diseases in children because their lungs aren’t yet fully developed. Asthma is 30-50% more likely to develop in children who live in moldy houses than in mold-free homes, according to research.

As long as carpet mold is present in a home, even persons with no preexisting medical concerns can suffer health issues. Even those in the best of health might suffer from anxiety, sadness, and memory loss if they are exposed to excessive amounts of mold.

2. Odors Might Indicate Mold on Carpet

Carpet mold can often be smelled before it is seen, which is why it is so dangerous. This is due to the fact that mold produces musty scents as it grows. As mold spores feed and reproduce, they release MVOCs (Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds) into the air.

Moldy odors are a sign of poor indoor air quality. It is possible for mold spores to enter your body through your nose and mouth, which can be dangerous. It is imperative that you have your carpet tested for mold as soon as possible if you detect a musty stench coming from it.

3. Mold Might Be Visible on Carpet

Eventually, as the development progresses, you’ll be able to see the mold on the surface of the carpet. Spots of green, white, or black mold are the most common indicators of carpet mold.

Carpet mold is a symptom that your home is infested with mold. Mold begins to grow and stain your carpet in the subfloor area. When it appears, it indicates that the problem has been ongoing for some time.

If the mold has grown so large that it is visible, there is little that can be done to clean and remove the mold from the carpet. A new carpet should be installed in place of the moldy one, to prevent it from spreading.

4. Solutions to Carpet Mold Growth

Mold can be prevented in many circumstances. The following is a list of options.

A. Sensible Installation

Avoid putting carpet in areas of your home that are more prone to water damage, such as bathrooms and kitchens. Mold thrives in areas where water is constantly present, such as restrooms, where the carpet is frequently walked on.

You should avoid carpeting basements, crawlspaces, and kitchens, among other areas of your property. Moldy carpets are nearly a certainty in these regions of the house because they are constantly exposed to moisture and humid air.

Synthetic fibers are impervious to mold growth. When it comes to carpeting your home, synthetic is the greatest option. To avoid developing mold on the filth that is trapped within your synthetic carpeting, keep it clean as much as possible at all times.

B. High-Quality Padding

Mold can spread from carpet to the floor and the baseboards of a home if it starts to grow. Installing high-quality padding between the carpet and flooring is essential.

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Rubber carpet padding is one of the greatest options for padding. Because its cushioning is anti-microbial, mold cannot develop on it. Even though it’s more expensive, it’s well worth the extra money to avoid costly carpet removals and mold growth.

C. Clean Carpets

According to some research, dirt may be as as important as moisture in the development of carpet mold. Because dirt contains mold spores and dirt is a hygroscopic material, which means it absorbs moisture, this causes mold to grow.

You need to maintain your carpets clean to prevent the growth of mold. Indoor carpet and rugs should be vacuumed at least once a week to remove dirt and dust. The carpets and other indoor floors should be deep cleaned every 12-18 months to remove any filth and dust that can’t be seen by the naked eye.

In the event your carpet has been plagued by mold, you can’t simply clean it. Moldy carpet must be removed and disposed of. In other cases, it may be necessary to have the floor or baseboards repaired since carpet mold may have infiltrated those areas.

D. Professional Testing

You can buy an at-home mold test, but these tests have a reputation for being unreliable. There have been cases where unopened at-home tests have been found to be moldy when they were purchased.

Hire a competent mold inspection company if you want reliable and comprehensive mold test findings. As part of a mold inspection, a skilled specialist will inspect your carpet and other common areas of a home for mold.

We’re here to help.

In southern California, GPMI offers mold inspection and testing by certified professionals. It is important to note that our mold inspectors are all accredited by the American Council for Accreditation of Collaborative Accreditation (ACAC).

Before we begin our testing, our professionals will do a thorough visual check of your home. We can use this to see if mold is growing in places where water collects, like carpets, bathrooms, sinks, crawlspaces, and more. As a result of their training, our team is equipped to find mold in even the most difficult-to-reach places.

When it’s difficult to see mold, we rely on technology to help us find it. Inspecting a house for dampness can be made easier with the aid of moisture meters. As part of our home inspections, we employ thermal imaging sensors to look for signs of water damage or leaks.

We use a variety of methods to detect mold, including:

  • When there are obvious mold-like substances on a carpet or other area of the home, this test is performed.
  • It is important for homeowners to know how much mold spores they are exposed to, as too much of it can be harmful.
  • The DNA/ERMI/SIM Mold Screening test identifies the forms of mold that are present in a homeowner’s house. It also reveals the source of the mold’s growth and whether or not it is damaging the building’s structure.

After we conduct a thorough mold inspection, we produce a comprehensive written report. Mold types, growth sources, and other information are all included in this document. You’ll need to show this report to a professional mold remediation firm if the mold we locate in your house is causing structural damage.

Carpet Mold: Identification, Prevention and Removal

The Dangers of Mold

Molds create allergies, irritants, and, in rare cases, dangerous chemicals known as mycotoxins, which are substances that can trigger allergic reactions in people. Those prone to allergies should avoid inhaling or handling mold or mold spores if possible. Sneezing, a runny nose, red eyes, and a rash on the skin are all signs of an allergic reaction (dermatitis). Mold allergy symptoms are widespread. Instant or delayed, they are both possible. Allergic individuals to mold may get asthma episodes as a result of mold exposure. Non-allergic people as well as those who are mold-allergic can be irritated by the effects of mold exposure. Aside from allergies and irritants, other symptoms might arise from mold inhalation, but they are less prevalent.

Carpet at Risk

In a home, carpeting is a high-risk region for mold formation. It is necessary for mold to have four things in order to thrive: water, oxygen, food, and a place to develop. Airborne mold spores are a typical sight. In the event that mold spores drop on an area that is wet or damp, they will quickly begin to proliferate. If the conditions are appropriate, both area rugs and wall-to-wall carpeting can serve as an ideal breeding ground for mold. Carpet in basements, carpet in locations with high humidity, and carpet that has been wet for any length of time are all particularly vulnerable to mold growth.

Identifying Mold in Carpeting

A carpet’s surface may appear clean and free of mold, but this does not necessarily mean that the carpet is infested with mold. Only in exceptionally severe situations of development, such as carpet damaged by flooding and left wet for an extended period, would mold be apparent on the surface of carpets. Mold can be found in a variety of places, and the following are some examples:

  • Visible mold development is an uncommon occurrence, but when it does occur, it is easy to see that mold is growing. Unfortunately, the carpet you have now isn’t salvageable, thus it should be thrown away and replaced. In many cases, even if mold isn’t evident on the surface of carpet, it may be lurking beneath the surface. Always check both sides of a carpet if it is suspected of carrying mold.
  • Any discoloration or odor that could be described as mildew on carpeting is most likely caused by mold.
  • If your carpet has become damp or water-damaged due to flooding or standing water, you should probably get rid of it. In this situation, the conditions are ideal for the formation of mold. Although visible mold growth has not yet started, it is highly likely to occur if the carpet is not properly removed, cleaned, and dried within 24 to 48 hours. Even if mold is removed and cleaned, it is still possible for it to grow again. More than likely, new carpet will be required.
  • Mold can form on both the carpet and the padding beneath it if the padding is wet for any reason. In some circumstances, the padding and the carpet may need to be replaced.
  • When it comes to basement carpet, locations with high humidity or significant temperature changes can lead to condensation, which can lead to mold and mildew growth on the carpet.
  • stains and odors: There is a vast variety of items that can cause stains and odors on carpets. To detect if mold is present, samples can be gathered and sent for testing.

Preventing Mold Growth in Carpeting

It is the best way to prevent mold from forming in the first place. The simplest method to avoid this is to eliminate any factors that encourage development. Mold growth in carpets can be prevented in the following ways.

  • Reduce the amount of moisture in the air in your home. Mold spores can’t get the water they need to grow into mold if you use dehumidifiers to reduce the moisture in the air. Interiors can tolerate a humidity range of 30% to 60%.
  • The best way to do this is to think ahead and plan ahead. In regions where there is a lot of dampness, don’t put down carpeting. Mold thrives in a moist environment, such as a bathroom, because of the continual use of water in that region.
  • The best carpet padding should be chosen. There is anti-microbial rubber-slab carpet padding available. It’s a little more expensive than other padding options, but it can help prevent the spread of mold in areas with a lot of moisture.
  • There should be no standing water. Standing water quickly destroys carpeting. All exposed carpeting must be cleaned and dried immediately if there is any standing water as a result of a leak or a spill. There must be a quick drying and cleaning process after a carpet is exposed to standing water if it is to be salvaged. The carpet will almost certainly need to be replaced if there has been a major flood or if there has been standing water for an extended period of time.
  • Cleanliness is a virtue. When cleaning carpets, utilize a dry cleaning method whenever possible. As soon as you’re done cleaning, check to see whether any liquid or other moisture has gotten on the carpet.

Removing Mold From Carpet

Cleaning a carpet that has mold growing on it is quite impossible in most circumstances. If the carpet has grown in more than one place, or if a considerable area has grown, it is likely that the carpet will need to be replaced.

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It may be possible to deal with minor growth spurts if they are discovered quickly. Steam cleaning with detergent and water may be all that is needed to thoroughly clean the carpet. To avoid a recurrence of the growth, it is critical that the carpet be allowed to dry completely after washing. If detergent does not work, stronger cleaning solutions might be used instead. To make sure the rug isn’t damaged when cleaning, test any substance stronger than detergent or popular rug-cleaning chemicals on an inconspicuous area of the carpet first. After testing, it’s customary to wait around 24 hours before attempting a larger cleaning to ensure that the carpet isn’t damaged or discolored.

The easiest way to avoid carpet mold is to keep it from growing in the first place. Reducing the likelihood of growth is as simple as eliminating high levels of moisture and avoiding flooding or standing water. When it comes to inspecting for mold development in carpet, inspectors will need to know where to look and how to recognize it. It’s also helpful to know how to tell if the carpet has to be replaced or cleaned and saved.


How do you get rid of mold under carpet?

Let the mold lie overnight with baking soda on it. Baking soda is an excellent deodorizer since it absorbs both odors and moisture. It’s best to use a brush with an attached handle and vinegar to remove the mold the next day. The back of the rug or carpet should also be cleaned.

Can you get mold under carpet?

If the conditions are appropriate, both area rugs and wall-to-wall carpeting can serve as an ideal breeding ground for mold. In basements and areas with high humidity, carpet and carpet that has been wet for an extended period of time are particularly vulnerable to mold growth and should be avoided at all costs.

Can mold in carpet make you sick?

There are a number of health issues that mold can bring, including a runny nose, a headache, and even hair loss. Asthma and COPD patients are particularly vulnerable to the dangers posed by mold. Dermatitis, a form of skin rash, can develop if mold is present in your carpets.

How do you lift a carpet to check for mold?

Remove the baseboard or molding from the walls before attempting to remove the carpet. Gently pry the baseboard off using a putty knife. Baseboard or molding may need to be removed if it’s larger than the carpet piece to be removed.

How long does it take mold to grow under wet carpet?

Within 24 to 48 hours, mold colonies might begin to form on a moist surface.

What is the black stuff under my carpet?

Filtration soiling is one of the most common causes of black stains on your carpet. Soot and grime are carried by the air that passes through the crevices between your floors and walls. As a clearing out, your carpet accumulates dirt particles.

Does mold smell moldy?

The smell of mold and mildew is unpleasant and musty, like that of rotting wood. If you’re in a damp area like a restroom, you’re more likely to smell it.

How do you test for mold?

It can be tough to tell the difference between a mildewed and an unclean surface. You can use household bleach to see if you have mold or mildew in your home by applying a few drops to the charred area. If after one to two minutes, the mildew begins to lighten, you got it. If the area is still black, it’s likely that it’s covered in dirt.

What color is mold on carpets?

Eventually, as the development progresses, you’ll be able to see the mold on the surface of the carpet. Spots of green, white, or black mold on carpet are the most common indicators of carpet mold. Carpet mold is a symptom that your home is infested with mold.

How long do mold symptoms last?

Within 2 to 9 hours of exposure, these symptoms usually begin to show up and remain for 1 to 3 days. Other symptoms include weight loss, shortness of breath, and coughing up blood. It is possible for symptoms to go away over long vacations, only to reappear upon returning to work.


We sincerely hope you won’t have to deal with mold under the carpet again now that you know how to detect it.

It is difficult to maintain carpets and other parts of a home. They are, however, required in order to avoid further maintenance expenses.

Helen Skeates

Helen Skeates

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