It can be frustrating to get the mildew smell out of carpet, especially if you’ve tried everything to get rid of it, but haven’t had any luck yet. Mildew leaves behind an unpleasant odor and can stain your carpet if not treated immediately. It’s important to act fast when the problem arises in order to save your carpet, and using the right techniques will help you get rid of the smell and keep it away in the future. Here are three ways to get a mildew smell out of carpet using common household items so you can breathe easy once again.
What is causing the smell?
To figure out how to get mildew smell out of carpet, you need to identify what’s causing it. If you have recently gotten a new carpet or had your old carpet cleaned recently, there is a good chance that chemical-based cleaning solutions used during installation or cleaning caused a reaction in your new carpet, causing it to smell like mildew. This can be solved by giving your new carpets a chance to air out after installation and ensuring that any chemicals are properly neutralized before they’re applied. The same idea applies if you have an older carpet that has developed a mildew smell from improper maintenance; ridding yourself of other odors can help newer smells stick around longer and over time your mildew odor will dissipate as well.
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Stop future mold growth
After you’ve successfully removed existing mold from your carpet, it’s important to take steps to prevent future growth. While vacuuming help, you need a more targeted approach specifically using an antimicrobial spray designed for killing mold. While you can buy specific sprays for home use, I recommend finding a commercial-grade product at your local janitorial supply store. A quick Google search should provide ample options in your area. Follow instructions on the label and reapply every 30 days or so.
Removing mildew stains
The first step in removing mildew from the carpet is to test a small area for colorfastness. If there’s any hint that mildew will permanently damage your carpet, don’t proceed with treatment. Otherwise, grab your materials. You will need rubbing alcohol, a small bowl, and a cloth or sponge. Mix 1⁄4 cup of rubbing alcohol into one quart of warm water and set aside while you prepare your mixture in another bowl by combining two parts baking soda with one part borax laundry booster (available at most supermarkets). Add two drops of liquid dish soap (yes it has to be real dish soap, not detergent) and mix until you have a thick paste.
Extraction cleaning process
There are two basic ways to go about removing a mildew smell from carpet: active and passive. Active cleaning involves mechanical means, such as vacuuming and scrubbing; passive cleaning relies on ventilation, dehumidification, and other natural processes to cleanse your carpet. Active cleaning is generally recommended if you have a large area say 300 square feet or more or if you have regular carpeting (as opposed to area rugs or runners). You’ll need an extraction vacuum for all that suction power, but if you’re trying to remove an especially strong mildew odor, that might be a small price to pay. If you’re going with passive cleaning methods instead, you can use an ordinary vacuum with a HEPA filter.
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Prevent future mold growth
In addition to treating your current mold problem, you’ll also want to do a little preventative maintenance. Start by opening windows and doors for a few hours each day for about a week. This will remove some of the moisture from your home and speed up drying time. If you have forced-air heating or air conditioning, set it so that it comes on more frequently but at lower temperatures (it might already do that when humidity is high). Open any ventilation registers in your house and make sure they’re working properly.
Ways to prevent mold in your home
Maintaining a clean, dry home is a good way to avoid mold in your home. Water damage can be caused by many different sources, including leaking appliances, roof leaks, and overflowing bathtubs or sinks. Make sure you fix any issues with water damage as soon as possible after they arise. You should also keep your heating and cooling systems maintained and in good working order; both excess humidity and extreme temperatures can contribute to mold growth if left unchecked. After cleaning up any spills or messes that have occurred in your home (for example, pet accidents), be sure to dry them quickly and thoroughly before allowing moisture build-up at all.