How to Remove Mildew Stains and Odor From Carpet

Tan carpet soaked with anti-mold spray

The Spruce / Ana Maria Stanciu

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 5 - 20 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hr - 2 days
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Mildew on the carpet is never fun, but it's even worse when once you've found that it's left a stain and bad smell. Mildew growth isn't always so obvious that you can even catch it before it stains. Often what you notice first is the musty smell. Whatever type of fungus growth you see or smell, never ignore it because it can eat away at natural fibers damaging and weakening fibers and leaving stains on carpets.

The good news is that mildew carpet stains can be removed with anti-mold spray and oxygen bleach. Read on for a guide to removing mildew stains and odors from rugs and carpets in just three easy steps.

 Stain type  Fungus
 Detergent type  Oxygen bleach
 Water temperature  Hot (if possible based on the fabric)

Before You Begin

For small rugs or carpets that are washable, use the exact instructions for washable clothes. However, if you have a wall-to-wall carpet with extensive mildew or mold growth, the best solution is to remove the carpet and the padding and discard it.

Warning

Use a dust mask like an N95 respirator to avoid inhaling the spores. Other recommended protective gear includes gloves and goggles or eye protection.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • N95 respirator mask
  • Fan

Materials

  • Anti-mold spray
  • Oxygen bleach

Instructions

How to Remove Mildew Stains and Odors From Carpet

  1. Turn Over Affected Area and Dry It Out

    If you have a small area of mildew, attempt to stop the growth and remove the stains by pulling up the affected area and removing any wet or mildewed padding. You should entirely dry the carpet and floor with a fan and dehumidifier for at least 48 hours.

    Tan carpet with mildew growth being pulled up forn affected area

    The Spruce / Ana Maria Stanciu

  2. Saturate With Anti-Mold Spray

    Spray the carpet with anti-mold spray. Follow the directions on the product. Make sure to soak the carpet on both the front and back completely. Spray the flooring with anti-mold spray as well. Since you should not rinse away most anti-mold spray, allow it to dry completely. Soap and water will not kill the spores, so you must use an anti-mold product.

    Tan carpet soaked with anti-mold spray

    The Spruce / Ana Maria Stanciu

  3. Use Oxygen Bleach to Remove Remaining Stain

    After the carpet has dried completely, if there are dark stains, use a solution of oxygen bleach and water to treat the discoloration on the surface of the carpet. Follow package directions and repeat until the stains are gone. Keep a fan going to ensure that everything is completely dry between steps. When everything is clean, replace the carpet padding and reinstall the carpet.

    Bowl with oxygen bleach and water solution soaking tan carpet with dark stains

    The Spruce / Ana Maria Stanciu

Additional Tips to Remove Mildew Stains and Odor

If the stain or odor does not come out after one or two times trying these steps, continue to repeat the steps. Eventually, these methods will kill and remedy mildew stains and odor. You can also try a few other household materials for a gentler, perhaps slower, attempt at removal:

  • If you don't use bleach or pine oil to eradicate mold, you can also use hydrogen peroxide. It is less harsh than chlorine bleach. Hydrogen peroxide (3% to 10% solution) will kill mold and lighten stains. It has a bleaching effect but works more slowly than chlorine bleach, has no fumes, and leaves no residue. Test on an inconspicuous spot to ensure you don't discolor the material.
  • Distilled white vinegar is mildly acidic and can also be used to break down the structure of mold and kill it slowly. Vinegar will eliminate odor but not remove mold stains, so you might need to scrub it away using another household cleaner.