How to Kill Mold in Carpet With Vinegar

When you find that mold has begun to flourish in your carpeting, it can feel overwhelming. Mold is an aggressive irritant that can be hard to truly remove from the tiny fibers of carpeting. There are a few ways to ensure you get rid of this aggressive and unwanted house guest.

Grey room with pattern carpet
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How to Kill Mold in Carpet With Vinegar

What Is Mold?

Just because you find mold in your home, it doesn't mean you may be in for serious health issues. Mold is a fairly common occurrence in a home.

  • Yellow mold is the most common along walls and windows. It enjoys wood materials but can spread to the subflooring under wall-to-wall carpeting.
  • Aspergilius is frequently found in the home. It is an airborne fungus that isn't harmful to healthy adults. It may attach to carpet under the right humid conditions.

  • Alternaria is an allergenic mold that can cause coughing, wheezing, sneezing or other breathing issues.
  • Cladosporium is a black, powerful fungus that can pose problematic issues for children, seniors or those with asthma or other breathing problems. It can thrive in mattresses and thick carpets in small black spots that spread quickly.

  • Stachybotrys is the most toxic of the molds that can grow in a crawl space. This black mold is dangerous and usually requires a professional to remove. If your carpet is found to have this dangerous mold, then it should be removed and replaced.

EPA Guidelines for Mold

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has addressed the serious issue of mold in the home to help consumers know when to throw in the towel and hire a professional or completely replace the carpeting.

If the mold growth covers more than 10 square feet due to heavy water damage, the carpet should be replaced. Any contractor you hire to remove moldy carpeting should have experience in mold and understand the steps needed to safely remove the mold without spreading it around the home.

Vinegar to Kill Mold

Vinegar is a go-to cleaner anytime you come across mold growing in your home, whether it's around the window sills, in the crawl space or deep down in the fibers of your carpeting. However, it takes more than a squirt of this mild acid-based cleaner to kill mold.

Straight vinegar sprayed on mold will kill about 80 percent of mold species. Pair that with baking soda, and you can quickly tamp down small mold growths. Let the vinegar sit for at least an hour before blotting or scrubbing the area.

Let it dry overnight. The strong odor from the vinegar will dissipate within a few hours. However, if you used baking soda with the vinegar, it will remove any odors from the carpet along with the mold.

Bleach to Kill Mold

Using bleach to kill mold you find flourishing in your carpeting has a few drawbacks. Aside from the staining issue when bleach hits dyed carpet fibers, this serious home cleaner can eat away at some materials.

So that you don't get a bald spot in your carpet, dilute the bleach by mixing a quarter cup of the cleaner with a gallon of warm water. Always use gloves when handling bleach. Spray the bleach in an even, light layer over the mold. Test a small area of the carpet before using bleach to ensure it doesn't harm the color or structure of the fibers.

What Causes Mold in Carpet?

Leaks and naturally occurring high humidity left unchecked can cause mold to grow in carpeting. Check the foundation and the walls for cracks or damage. Water can seep in through the tiniest of cracks.

High humidity levels can cause wet stains to spread on walls and ceilings. Aside from fungi and mold, bed bugs and dust mites thrive when they settle into high humidity areas. A humidity level chart will show you the ideal level of humidity for each room.


Kimberley McGee

Kimberley McGee

Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.