Can Steam Cleaning Carpet Cause Mold

Can Steam Cleaning Carpets Cause Mold (3 Easy Steps to Avoid It)

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Even if you’re not an expert on the subject, you could probably reason that moist is somehow related to mold growth. Because steam cleaners are essentially water-based, it’s perfectly normal to wonder: does steam cleaning cause mold?  

And if it doesn’t, can it at least help you get rid of it?

The opinions on the subject are conflicted and can confuse you. To find out the truth behind the relationship of steam cleaning and mold – read on.

When you discover that your carpet is moldy, there are only a handful of choices. 

Throw the entire thing away, cut off the moldy part or do a thorough cleaning of the carpet and the floor beneath it: scrubbing, chemicals and steam cleaning – the whole charade. 

Steam cleaning by its nature kills all kinds of microorganisms, including mold, but ONLY if you follow the steps I’ll describe in this article.

First Things First: How Does Mold End Up in a Carpet

Mold spores are commonly found flying around in the air. To grow and develop into the disgusting things that no one wants living in their home, they need a damp environment and something to feed on. 

This is why carpets that have been in contact with water are an ideal habitat of this microscopic fungi. They are moist enough for the mold to settle in and dirty enough for it to have something to feed on.

How to Know If Your Carpet is Moldy BEFORE You See It

does steam cleaning cause mold - a person sniffing themselves to see what's smelling so bad
Is it ME?

Your carpet might be concealing mold, and you might not even notice! 

This is a terrible thought, and I bet you are scanning your carpet right now for the tell tale signs

  • If you had a flood in your house and the carpet was wet for more than 48 hours, mold has probably found a way into it.
  • If the padding under the carpet feels wet, or becomes moist due to condensation or any other reason, chances are mold’s already heading there.
  • If you smell an unusual odor coming from the carpet – you have mold. End of story.

Wall to wall carpeting and carpets in the bathroom and basement (or any other place in your home that is commonly more damp then others) are at most risk of getting moldy

Either remove carpeting from those rooms or vacuum more often, if you don’t want to end up combating mold.

Steam Cleaner VS Mold: Archenemies Or Partners In Crime?

As someone who has been hung up on steam cleaning for a while now, I went through all phases before the final acceptance that it’s the best way to keep my house clean and sanitized.  From doubt, curiosity, and testing, to experimenting and implementing: I did it all!

My finding is, as expected: if you want steam cleaning to produce results, it needs to be done right.

How Can Steam Cleaning Cause Mold Growth In A Carpet?

As I said before, steam cleaners heat up water over the boiling point and then let off pressurized steam which you apply to the area you want to get clean. In a word – things tend to get a little wet. 

The first condition for a mold-friendly environment: fulfilled.

If the carpet is not well-dried after steam cleaning and carefully vacuumed you can expect an encounter with mold in the near future!

How Steam Cleaning Kills Mold In A Carpet?

Like all harmful microorganisms, mold too is sensitive to high temperatures. Mold can’t survive at temperatures between 150 degrees and 364 degrees Fahrenheit (65–185°C)

It just so happens that steam that home steam cleaners produce has a temperature between 307–363°F (153–183°C). How convenient for the mold to R.I.P.!

There’s another benefit for deciding PRO steam cleaning when you have a mold issue in your carpet. Steam penetrates the deep layers of your carpet’s fabric. So if the mold is hiding in the padding beneath the carpet, it can also be reached and affected by steam.

How to Steam Clean Your Carpet WITHOUT Inviting Mold – 3 Must-Know Tips

Green carpet and steam cleaner
Don’t let it grow greener!


When you get used to this routine, you will never have to wonder about mold infesting your carpet after steam cleaning.

1. Choosing the right day: Watch the weather

When planning to start steam cleaning your carpet, make sure that you’re doing it on a warm and breezy day.

To prevent mold from inhabiting your carpet after steam cleaning, you have to ensure a steady airflow through the room.

Mold takes 24–48 hours to grow, so your carpet has to dry FASTER than that. 

If it so happens that you live in a naturally damp climate, the idea to have your carpet professionally steam cleaned is not a bad one. Professionals have drying chambers that can dry your carpet in only a couple of hours.

2. Looking beneath is never pleasant but…

…it’s a job that needs to be done. What you find might not be pretty, so: brace yourself.

If mold is living under your carpet, it’s of utmost importance to remove as much of it as possible before starting steam cleaning.

You’ll need to use adequate chemicals that can treat mold. Scrub hard and dry the area well before you can bring the carpet back in the room and run a steam cleaner over it. 

Do not use bleach on mold! Bleach will make the mold invisible, but will not destroy it. Use only proper solutions that are meant for mold issues exclusively. And use them according to the instructions on the label.

3. Vacuuming after steam cleaning

When the carpet is dry, vacuum vigorously. 

A vacuum cleaner will pick up all the remaining spores and this process will prevent reccurrence. If you have a HEPA vacuum cleaner, even better.

Does Steam Cleaning Cause Mold – Frequently Asked Questions

can steam cleaning carpet cause mold
Let’s tuck you in…

Wall to wall carpeting: will steam cleaning help against mold?

Prevention is the key. 

Before installing a wall to wall carpet, you need to be aware that this kind of carpet can easily succumb to mold if you don’t vacuum and steam clean it regularly.

Steam cleaner helps you maintain the hygiene of the carpet on a high level, and the high temperatures it produces remove both mold and other pathogens that might find a way to its fibers.

What to use on mold before steam cleaning?

Except ready made solutions, you probably have something at home that can help you deal with carpets that mold has gotten into. 

Baking soda and white vinegar should be your first responders here.

Sprinkle a small amount of soda on the spot and leave it overnight. Vacuum the area the next morning. This should resolve a mild mold problem. 

Also, you can spray on white vinegar to an area on your carpet where you discovered (or suspect) mold growth. Spay it generously and let it sit for five to ten minutes. Scrub hard, vacuum after.

Can a steam cleaner help me with mold all throughout the house, not only on carpets?


Steam cleaning is so well accepted in households all throughout  the world not only because it’s the most effective cleaning method against all kinds of pathogens, but also because it can be applied to all surfaces. Tiles, floors, and almost all kinds of fabric can be treated with a steam cleaner. 

The result is a dustless, sanitized and moldless bathroom, piece of furniture, kitchen, steam clean motorcycle or even a car!

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