How to Test for Mold in Carpets

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Moldy carpets are not only smelly and ugly, but they are also hazardous to your health. If your carpet is in a damp, humid area, or has recently come into contact with a large amount of moisture (due to flooding, or dripping), testing for mold is a very good idea. You can probably identify most mold infestations by using your own senses, but if you are still unsure (or need confirmation for health/legal reasons) you can also test using lab services.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape
  • Zip-lock bag
  • Stamped envelope
  • Smell the carpet. It may sound gross, but the best way to identify mold is by smelling the area where you suspect there is mold growth. Mold has a very distinguishable, pungent, musky odor and is not easily masked by home fragrances. If you can detect this smell, you do not need to perform any more tests and can begin sanitation immediately.

  • Although the first sign of a mold infestation is smell, the second follows rather quickly: sight. The particular look of the mold will vary depeding on the strain, but mold stains generally do have some characteristics in common. Stains are usually circular, have a dark color (such as green, brown or black) and spread out from the middle.

  • Test with a laboratory. If you need to make absolutely sure that there is not one spore of mold in your home, use a lab testing facility. Since mold testing requires expensive equipment, it is not practical to do it yourself. Fortunately, many labs will allow you to send in a sample. See the resource section for a link to one such lab. To take a sample for the lab, simply wrap some sticky tape around your hand (sticky side out), and touch the tape to the area you want to test. Place the tape inside the zip-lock bag, and send it off to the laboratory. If you want to test multiple areas, you will need new tape and a new bag for each area.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have identified mold in your home, don't panic. Many household cleaners get rid of mold, and with some scrubbing and steam cleaning, you'll be able to rid your house of mold for good.

References

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