In many cases, if mold has grown on carpet, cleaning will not be possible. If growth has occurred on more than one area of the carpet, or if there is a large area of growth, the carpet will probably need to be replaced. Small areas of growth that have been quickly identified can sometimes be dealt with. Detergent and water used with a steam-cleaning machine may be enough to clean the carpet thoroughly. It is then important to ensure that the carpet dries completely after cleaning to prevent the growth from recurring. Stronger cleaning agents can be substituted if detergent does not work. Anything stronger than detergent or common rug-cleaning products should first be tested on an inconspicuous area of the carpet to ensure that the rug will not be damaged during cleaning. About 24 hours is a reasonable amount of time to wait after testing to be sure that wider cleaning will not discolor or damage the carpet.
Another option in instances where mold growth is not widespread is to remove the ruined section of the carpet. If cleaning has been attempted unsuccessfully, the area of mold growth may be removed and replaced with a patch of similar carpet. Of course, this will only work in situations where aesthetics are not a big concern, since exactly matching the patch to the original carpet may be difficult and the seam may be visible. If mold has grown in more than one area of the carpet, or if the area of growth is larger than a couple of feet, this will probably not be an effective method of mold removal.
As with all areas of the interior at risk for mold growth, prevention is the best method of control for carpet mold. Eliminating high-moisture conditions and preventing the risk of flooding or standing water will reduce the possibility of growth. Inspectors will want to know where to look for and how to identify mold growth in carpeting. It is also helpful to know how to determine if carpet should be replaced, or whether there is a possibility of cleaning and saving it.