Carpet Smells Like Mildew? Here’s What to Do

carpet smells like mildew

After a major storm or faulty plumbing issue that causes flooding in the home, carpeting can hold a lot of moisture. From moisture, mildew can start to grow and fill your home with a musty smell.

Have you had some type of flood or excessive water spill on your carpet and now it smells funky? If your carpet smells like mildew, here are how you can assess the issue, or call in professionals to help before it becomes a bigger problem.

Why Your Carpet Smells Like Mildew

What is mildew, and why does it smell?

A type of mold, mildew grows very quickly in damp environments. It is a microscopic organism that can be airborne and is not always visible to the naked eye.

Areas that have moisture but do not have enough ventilation such as basements can start to have mold and mildew growth without even having exposure to large amounts of water.

Mildew has a very specific smell which most people would describe as “musty.” This musty smell will not go away on its own and must be treated with urgency.

Act Fast Because Mildew Is Fast Acting

Do you know how quickly mold and mildew can start to grow in a damp area? Within 24-48 hours mold and mildew can begin to form if left untreated.

Living in a climate that has high humidity can make the situation even more serious because all of that extra moisture in the air adds to your problem on hand. Limited ventilation will also add to the issue, so make sure that you open windows and turn on fans.

Is Mildew Harmful?

Other than an offensive smell, is mildew harmful? When people and pets are living in a home with mildew you might wonder if it could be affecting your health while you are breathing it in.

The crazy thing about mold and mildew is that you do not even have to touch it for it to be harmful to your health, it affects us just by breathing it in. Though mold is more harmful than mildew, mildew does not go without its dangers.

For those with asthma and breathing issues, or sensitive immune systems, the dangers of mildew are far more serious, and moldy carpet treatment should become a higher priority. You might even think about blocking off the affected room or have those people stay somewhere else temporarily until the mildew is gone.

Getting Rid of Mildew on Your Own

What can you do to get rid of mildew on your own? You don’t always need to call in the professionals in every case of mildew, although it is a lot less work and guaranteed results if you do call them.

There are a few home remedies that you can try, and also plenty of products on the store shelf that is made to treat mildew.

White vinegar is a natural wonder for many cleaning tasks. Dilute regular white vinegar 5/1 with water in a spray bottle and mist the affected carpet before using a carpet cleaning machine.

You can also use hydrogen peroxide with the same dilution formula. This method is good for people who don’t like the smell of vinegar, which is perfectly understandable since it is a strong and sometimes offensive odor.

The third home remedy is to use baking soda. Not everyone will want to do this depending on the texture and color of your carpet because baking soda does not always vacuum completely out especially.

After all, your carpet may also still be wet.

Remember that you are not only trying to get rid of the smell, but you are also trying to kill the mildew spores that can lead to health problems. So, masking the smell with an air freshener and candles will not be 100% effective.

Carpet Cleaning

Using sprays and solutions on your mildew-ridden carpets will not be enough. You have to dry them out, too.

If you own a carpet cleaning machine that saves you a step in this process. If you do not have one, you can rent one or purchase one.

The aim is to get rid of the water and moisture that is present before worrying about getting out the smell. Without drying the carpet out first, you leave room for more mildew to grow which defeats the purpose of cleaning it in the first place.

Make sure that your carpet cleaning machine or the one you rent has a water-extracting feature to draw out the water from your carpet and padding underneath. Some models are only designed to clean carpets, not all extract water.

Calling in the Professionals ASAP

How long should you wait to call the professionals after you have had a flood, pipe burst, or another source of excessive water on your carpet(s)? The answer is you should not wait, at all.

Grab your phone and call as soon as possible because water damage and mold/mildew can start to happen right away.

Should You Replace Your Carpet?

Are you worried that you will have to replace your carpet? Don’t start ripping it out just yet.

The professional carpet cleaning and restoration team will let you know if they can salvage your carpet. Chances are if you have called them as soon as the disaster happened that they can save your carpet instead of ripping it out and replacing it.

Preventing Mildew

If a natural disaster strikes again or your carpet gets soaked by an unnatural disaster, there are a few things that you can do to prevent mildew from forming and how to keep the carpet from smelling like mildew. You probably never want to deal with this situation again, so remember this advice.

Use ceiling fans, stationary fans, and oscillating fans as well as air purifiers and dehumidifiers to help eliminate moisture. You can even use products such as cat litter and moisture absorbing bags or products to assist in the process.

Until your problem is under control avoid adding excess moisture to the air with hot steamy showers and boiling water in the kitchen. Using your air conditioner can also help.

No Mas Mildew

Use the home remedy methods to kill the smell, use fans, and moisture-wicking products to absorb excess dampness, use water extracting machines for carpets, or call in professionals to help. Whatever you do, do it fast because mold and mildew can be harmful to your health and start to grow very quickly.

If your carpet smells like mildew, we can help! Call Towers Restoration & Cleaning for an estimate or to schedule an appointment.

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