Calendar icon February 6, 2023

How to Get Mold out of Carpet

Removing mold from your carpet can be a tough task. Let us simplify it for you.


Your home is your haven, and you are proud of your constant dedication to keeping it clean. You have a checklist and a go-to cleaning solution for everything. But what do you do after you have been hit with a leaky ceiling or a plumbing issue, and all of a sudden you discover a stain on your carpet that you hadn't noticed before?

Mold growing in your home can easily go undetected. Knowing what triggers mold growth and what steps you can take to prevent it is something every homeowner should know. Removing mold from easily accessible areas like counters or bathrooms may only take a simple cleaning spray, but eliminating mold from a multilayered surface such as carpet requires a more thorough, deep clean. To understand how to remove mold, you first need to understand what mold is and how it develops.

  • How Problematic Can Mold Be On Your Health
  • How Does Mold Grow On Carpet
  • Steps To Remove Mold From Carpet
  • Steps To Prevent Mold Forming In Carpet

 

How Problematic Can Mold Be On Your Health?

Mold spores are tiny structures naturally found in the air. They are attracted to and rely on moist conditions to thrive. They also have no problem finding their way into your home. They can travel through doors, windows, heating and cooling systems, or even hitch a ride on your clothes or pets. Once they have found a conducive environment, such as your carpet, and have combined with the dust in your home, the perfect condition has been created for mold to grow.

Mold spores will exist in your home air in some capacity. They’re everywhere and not really harmful at low levels. The key to successfully "managing" mold spores is keeping it from collecting in large numbers. (That's when you actually get a mold problem.) To do this, one must deprive the spores of moisture, cellulose, and time.

When left untreated, mold can impact your health in several ways. According to the EPA, it releases allergens and can even release toxic substances, called Mycotoxins. If touched or inhaled, it can result in throat, skin, and eye irritation, as well as coughing and a stuffy nose. In more severe cases, when coupled with a weakened immune system, mold inhalation can even cause respiratory infections or bronchitis, as well as exacerbate symptoms in asthma sufferers.

How Does Mold Grow On Carpet?

Carpet is the perfect environment to trap and hide mold. This is especially true in especially wet areas such as your bathroom or basement. The thick, woven material, along with the carpet's backing, can easily absorb and retain moisture for an excessive amount of time. Carpet offers a complex structure comprised of many cellulose-based products. Wet carpet is mold’s dreamworld, so if it becomes moist, it creates that perfect environment needed for mold growth. Mold spores landing on the carpet use the moisture and cellulose to begin their germination process and are well on their path to becoming mold. Leaks, flooding, or even carpet that was cleaned but not thoroughly dried can result in mold growth.

Although mold only takes a couple of days to grow, it may take up to three weeks to become visible and may not even reach the carpet's surface. Mold is likely to develop and fester under the carpet's surface, making it undetectable. Oftentimes, once it has become visible, it has reached a point of severity where the carpet is no longer salvageable. Eventually, mold left untreated can even end up damaging the baseboards beneath your carpet. Although catching mold before it has become visible is difficult, it is not impossible. If you notice your carpet is damp, or that a musty smell has developed, it may be time to unveil a portion of your carpet and do some further investigation. Any case of discoloration or odor on your carpet's surface that seems to be mildew-like might be a sign that mold is present. It is crucial that any moisture detected on your carpet is addressed within 24 to 48 hours before it has a chance to fully develop into mold.

Steps To Remove Mold From Carpet.

Once you have diagnosed your carpet with mold, it is essential you act immediately. Be sure to keep the area cut off from the rest of your home. Mold can quickly and easily spread, turning a small issue into a significant project—and not the fun kind of project. There are two approaches to cleaning mold from your carpet. You can use natural products, or you can attack the area with stronger chemicals. Before handling any potentially moldy areas in your home, it is vitally important that you protect your face and hands. Face masks and gloves will go a long way in ensuring that the mold and cleaning chemicals do not affect your health.

It is equally important to note that you should not mix cleaning solutions unless otherwise specified, as this can create toxic fumes that would be hazardous to your health.
how to remove mold from the carpet using backing soda and vinegar

An age-old remedy to removing mold from carpet is to apply baking soda, leaving it overnight to treat the affected area, absorbing moisture and bad odors. Something as simple as baking soda is actually the best mold remover in many circumstances. Vacuum the next day and proceed to scrub with vinegar using a stiff bristle brush. A vacuum with a HEPA filter will help collect remaining mold spores, but the vacuum's filter will need to be changed before next use, or you will be at risk of spreading these spores to other areas of your house, contaminating it once again. If your vacuum does not have a HEPA filter, it is recommended to substitute this step with a broom and dustpan. The carpet then needs to be dried as quickly as possible. You can do so by ventilating the room with open windows and running your A/C. Extra fans or dehumidifiers are also helpful to expedite this drying process.

Vacuums without high-grade filtration will send mold spores back into your air, leaving them free to float around and land somewhere else they find suitable to colonize.

A more aggressive approach to removing mold is to use a solution made for just that. Mold-removing products, like Allersearch ADMS Anti-Allergen Spray, can be found at your local hardware store. It is essential that the excess spray is removed using a brush, discarding the mold that you scrape out into a trash bag. Using water will only increase the risk of mold returning. After scrubbing, continue to dry the carpet using the same process recommended for the natural mold removal approach. If you are cleaning mold from a rug, opt to dry the rug outside in direct sunlight for 48 hours, as this will reduce the risk of mold returning. These tips apply to all the rugs in your home that may have fallen victim to mold growth.

UV rays from the sun can actually help to kill mold spores.

Of course, if mold has spread to a larger than manageable area, it may be best to seek help from a professional. Although mold remediation is expensive, costing upwards of $2,000, you can be sure the affected areas will be properly treated. As important as it is to treat mold, it is equally important to determine the underlying cause of the mold's growth and to resolve that issue simultaneously. Mold due to flooding, a leak in the roof, or an unsealed crawlspace will come back if those problems are not treated immediately.

Steps To Prevent Mold Forming In Carpet.

Routine is key to preventing mold from forming in your carpet. Having a weekly regimen in place will help you stay proactive in the constant fight to keep your home a healthy one. Below are some tips that will keep you one step ahead of mold:

  • Regularly use a dehumidifier in areas prone to higher humidity to help keep moisture levels from reaching a point where mold spores need to grow. Anywhere from 30% to 50% humidity is normal for the inside of your home. It is important to check humidity levels frequently as they can change throughout the day. A/C units can also help manage humidity in your home.
  • Keep your home well ventilated by opening windows. This is an easy way to reduce moisture in your home.
  • Vacuuming often will help keep the dust that accompanies mold at bay. Steam clean any wet areas as this will help remove any toxins found in your carpet.
  • Do not install carpet in areas where moisture is often present. Clean rugs in bathrooms or basements often.
  • Do your homework when installing carpet. Be sure to choose moisture resistant padding and check that it is installed correctly.
  • Regularly replace your home air filters with ones that guarantee they filter out allergens such as dust and mold.

Mold can be scary, but removing it from your home is pretty easy. Remember, as your mother always said, "A healthy home is a happy home," and "Prevention is the best medicine." And if she didn't say that, I'm sure she was still a great mom.

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Property Management Pest Control Gone Wrong: Resident Horror Stories & Nightmares

In the world of property management and real estate investing, maintaining a clean and pest-free environment is central to the well-being of the residents who live in your properties. That being said, effective pest control is not only a best practice, but also a strategic move that enhances your properties’ living experience, making your life as a property manager easier and your residents happier. Pest control is crucial for several reasons: Investing in pest control saves significant potential costs by avoiding large-scale infestations and property damage, enhancing resident satisfaction with a healthier, pest-free environment, and preserving property value. This approach reduces health risks, protects against liability, and maintains a good reputation by demonstrating the property management company’s dedication to providing safe, comfortable living spaces for great tenants. Ultimately, pest control sets professional property management companies apart from DIY and amateur real estate investors by safeguarding both residents' well-being and property assets. By addressing these points, you can foster a positive living environment that benefits both you and your residents. It’s important to note that our goal is not to call out “good tenants” vs. “bad tenants.” Instead, we always aim to foster a constructive dialogue focused on addressing problems and finding solutions. By emphasizing respect and fairness, we can help create a positive environment that benefits all residents, ensuring their rights and dignity are always respected. Also note that even though we here at Second Nature prefer the term "resident" over "tenant" to foster the human element, the word "tenant" may still be used occasionally due to its long-standing legal and real estate context. "House of Horror" Stories Most property managers have encountered their share of resident horror stories – and many, not for the first time. These tales often involve unexpected and severe pest infestations, made worse by residents' behaviors. Indeed, from bedbugs and roaches (the truly bad tenants any property manager is looking to be rid of) to animal issues, the range of pest problems is vast and daunting. Our "House of Horror Stories" video provides a vivid account of these situations, including some landlord horror stories that are too distressing to include here. Maggots falling from the ceiling: A tenant reported maggots falling from the ceiling onto their bed. The pest company discovered that these maggots were larvae of beetles infesting the air ducts in the neighborhood. Pets and extensive damage: Animals in one property caused extensive damage by covering all floors with feces and chewing through doors, door frames, flooring, HVAC systems, and appliances, with clean-up costs exceeding $15,000. Flushable wipes backup: A tenant flushing baby wipes caused a major sewage backup, leading to water damage throughout multiple rooms (including the living room and master bedroom), with clean-up costs close to $5,000. Donkey in the basement: During the purchase inspection, a donkey was found tied to the deck and later moved to the basement to hide it from animal control, calling for its quick removal. Rodents damaging appliances: Rats infested a property, chewing through a new dishwasher, insulation, and electrical wires, requiring repeated pest control visits and extensive repairs. These stories from a range of contributors highlight the unpredictable and often extreme challenges property managers face in maintaining their properties and ensuring the safety and well-being of their residents. How to Control Resident Pest Issues A robust pest control program is often the property manager’s best friend. After all, infestations can be difficult to proactively defend against, given that background checks, references, and tenant screening go only so far in uncovering the pest issues that can befall even the best tenants. Regardless of the challenges residents may present, a comprehensive pest control plan can mitigate potential infestations before they escalate into true horror stories. This includes timely intervention, and educating residents about maintaining cleanliness. Providing residents with clear guidelines on waste disposal and food storage can also significantly mitigate pest problems. Additionally, offering pest control services as part of a Resident Benefits Package can encourage residents to report issues early, allowing for swift action. Planning Ahead When dealing with problematic residents, it's essential to have a clear action plan. Issuing notices to clean the property promptly (e.g., with a 7-day notice period) is a critical first step. Leveraging a notice-to-clean template can streamline the process and ensure that you comply with tenant laws and legal standards. If worst things come to worst, an eviction notice may become necessary. However, this process is governed by various rules and regulations that can differ significantly across federal and state lines. It's important to be well-versed in these laws to avoid legal pitfalls. A detailed “notice to vacate” template can be incredibly helpful for property managers looking to take care of these complex situations. Nipping Things in the Bud In conclusion, maintaining a pest-free environment is integral to property management success. On-Demand Pest Control is a service in Second Nature’s fully managed Resident Benefits Package (RBP). It offers predictable, cost-effective, and fast solutions when a pest issue arises. Instead of expensive scheduled preventive treatments, residents can request service as needed. This approach ensures fast response times, directly addressing the problem at hand and saving costs over recurring treatments Property managers simply select the best pest plan from four tiers of service levels to include in their RBP. When an issue arises, the resident reports it in the On-Demand Pest Control portal, and the pest issue will be resolved. Learn more about On-Demand Pest Control by getting in touch, or read our latest study on the impact of our RBP on the resident experience.

Calendar icon July 3, 2024

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Your Guide to Property Management Laws, Regulations, & Rules

Property management activities involve overseeing rental properties, ensuring they’re maintained, residents are managed, and finances are handled effectively. While a real estate license is not always necessary to manage rental properties, licensing requirements can vary significantly by state. Typically, states may require property managers to hold a real estate license or work under a licensed broker. Property managers should familiarize themselves with the specific regulations in their state to ensure compliance. What Are Some Important Property Management Rules and Regulations? Property management laws encompass various areas, ensuring the safety, rights, and responsibilities of both property managers and tenants. Key areas include: Anti-discriminatory laws: Fair housing laws such as the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) prevent discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability. Lease paperwork: Legally binding lease agreements must include specific terms and comply with local regulations. Safety, maintenance, and repairs: Property managers must ensure properties meet habitability standards, including weatherproofing, heating, water, and electricity. Financial management: Proper handling of security deposits, monthly rent collection, and financial records is essential to comply with regulations and avoid disputes. Property management laws by state Each state has specific property management laws that property managers must adhere to. For instance, in many (but not all) jurisdictions, property managers must obtain a real estate broker license to operate. These laws are typically drafted and enforced by various regulatory bodies such as the state's Department of Real Estate or similar agencies. For instance, the California Department of Real Estate is responsible for regulating real estate activities, brokers, and salespersons, including those who work in property management, while the Texas Real Estate Commission handles these responsibilities in Texas. These agencies ensure compliance with state licensing laws and often provide resources and guidelines for property managers of both residential properties and commercial properties. Below is a table linking to the respective government sites for state-specific regulations: State State Body Alabama Alabama Real Estate Commission Alaska Alaska Real Estate Commission Arizona Arizona Department of Real Estate Arkansas Arkansas Real Estate Commission California California Department of Real Estate Colorado Colorado Division of Real Estate Connecticut Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection Delaware Delaware Real Estate Commission Florida Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation Georgia Georgia Real Estate Commission and Appraisers Board Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs' Real Estate Branch Illinois Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation Indiana Indiana Professional Licensing Agency Iowa Iowa Department of Inspections, Appeals, & Licensing Kansas Kansas Real Estate Commission (for commercial real estate property management only) Kentucky Kentucky Real Estate Commission Louisiana Louisiana Real Estate Commission Michigan Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Minnesota Minnesota Department of Commerce Mississippi Mississippi Real Estate Commission Missouri Missouri Division of Professional Registration Montana Montana Department of Labor and Industry Nebraska Nebraska Real Estate Commission Nevada Nevada Real Estate Division New Hampshire New Hampshire Real Estate Commission New Jersey New Jersey Real Estate Commission New Mexico New Mexico Real Estate Commission New York New York State Division of Licensing Services North Carolina North Carolina Real Estate Commission North Dakota North Dakota Real Estate Commission Ohio Ohio Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing Oklahoma Oklahoma Real Estate Commission Oregon Oregon Real Estate Agency Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission Rhode Island Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation South Carolina South Carolina Real Estate Commission South Dakota South Dakota Real Estate Commission Tennessee Tennessee Real Estate Commission Texas Texas Real Estate Commission Utah Utah Division of Real Estate Virginia Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation Washington Washington State Department of Licensing West Virginia West Virginia Real Estate Commission Wisconsin Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services Wyoming Wyoming Real Estate Commission Note: This list excludes resources from Idaho, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Vermont. Tenant screenings Tenant screenings are a critical step in property management, involving background checks, credit checks, income verification, employment verification, rental history, and proof of ID to assess prospective tenants. This process helps ensure that potential renters are reliable and financially responsible. It's important to obtain signed consent before running credit checks, as required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), to comply with legal standards and protect tenant privacy. Another important guidance is provided by the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in housing-related activities based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability, ensuring equal access to housing for all individuals. Learn more about Tenant Screening Tips for PMs Lease agreements A lease agreement is a legally binding contract between the landlord and tenant, outlining the terms of the tenancy. Key components of rental agreements include lease terms, rent amount, security deposit regulations, and common clauses such as maintenance responsibilities and lease renewal terms. Regulations governing lease agreements can vary by state, so it's essential to ensure that leases comply with local laws. For instance, state laws often contain security deposit limits, provisions for the return of unused portions, as well as a clear accounting for any deductions. Consulting with a lawyer is crucial to ensure your agreement is legally sound and reflects your specific circumstances. We’ve shared some relevant resources below: Learn more about property management agreements, featuring a free template Learn about security deposit insurance, and its pros and cons Financial management Effective financial management in property management involves establishing clear rent collection procedures and maintaining organized financial records. This includes tracking rent payments, managing tenants’ security deposits, and adhering to landlord-tenant laws to avoid legal disputes and financial penalties. Keeping detailed records can help property managers resolve issues efficiently and ensure transparency with tenants and property owners. Solutions such as property management software can streamline financial operations, automate routine tasks, and perhaps most importantly - ensure accuracy and regulatory compliance with respect to various accounting regulations and legal requirements. Evictions Evictions are a legal process to remove a tenant from a property. Common reasons for eviction from rental units include nonpayment of rent, property damage, lease violations, and criminal activity. Property managers must follow their state's rules for eviction notices, such as unconditional quit terminations and termination for lease violations, to ensure the process is lawful and fair. State laws regarding unconditional quit terminations and terminations for violation of a lease vary widely. Unconditional quit notices typically demand that tenants move out immediately without an opportunity to remedy the violation. States like Indiana and Mississippi allow landlords to issue these notices for serious or repeated violations, with Mississippi requiring 14 days to move out. For lease violations, the notice period and the opportunity for tenants to remedy the breach also differ by state. For example, in Kentucky, tenants generally have 15 days of written notice to cure a violation, but if the same violation occurs within six months, landlords can issue a 14-day unconditional quit notice. In contrast, states like Iowa and Maine require a seven-day notice period for tenants to address lease violations before eviction proceedings can begin. In California, on the other hand, tenants must be given three days or more to cure the violation before landlords can file for eviction (source). These legal nuances emphasize the importance of PMs and tenants understanding their specific state regulations to navigate eviction processes appropriately. Property maintenance and repairs Maintaining rental properties is a legal obligation for landlords, ensuring that properties are safe, habitable, and free from hazards like lead, asbestos, and mold. This includes weatherproofing, providing adequate heating and water, and ensuring electrical systems are functional. You can find out more about these issues in our Property Maintenance Guide for PMs. Landlords must also give notice to tenants before entering the property for repairs, as required by most state laws. When in doubt, consult a legal advisor to ascertain the specific laws that apply to you in your state. Tenants have the right to a habitable living environment, and failure to meet these standards can lead to legal consequences as well as issues with occupancy rates. Indeed, when landlords fail to make required repairs, tenants have several options depending on their state's laws. Tenants may withhold rent, make the necessary repairs themselves and deduct the cost from the rent, pay a reduced rent, report the issue to local building inspectors who can order repairs, or even break the lease and move out. Additionally, tenants can sue the landlord for a partial refund of past rent or for damages caused by the substandard conditions, including discomfort and emotional distress. Get our preventative maintenance checklist for property management Learn about the importance of pest control to maintain a pest-free environment Second Nature's Guidance Staying informed about state-specific regulations, maintaining organized records, and ensuring compliance with federal laws such as the Fair Housing Amendments Act is key to successful property management. On a practical level, understanding and adhering to property management laws and regulations is crucial for property managers to ensure smooth operations, maintain property value, and foster positive tenant relationships. Learn more about property management company best practices, marketing, and more in our Second Nature Community.

Calendar icon July 3, 2024

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