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Rug and carpets, even those made of inorganic materials, are susceptible to mold. And when rugs start to grow mold, it should be fixed as soon as possible, as mold can grow and spread surprisingly fast. However, sometimes it’s difficult for the average person to determine if their carpet has mold since it can grow underneath the carpet, or within its fibers. Here’s a guide from the carpet cleaning professionals here at Oriental Express in Las Vegas on how to tell if your carpet has mold.

When rugs stay wet too long, they become mildewed and, eventually, suffer dry rot. The classic example is dry rot caused by a potted plant placed on a rug. The typical result is a horribly rotted circular area in a carpet that is otherwise in good condition. Don’t even think about putting a potted plant on a rug. No matter how clever you are, no matter that you use a glazed pot and a glazed saucer and you put a vapor barrier between the saucer and the rug, the rug will get wet and will stay wet unbeknownst to you and will become a rotten mess in an area about one foot in diameter.

Another typical situation comes up when rugs are stored poorly — in a garage, for instance — and they become wet without anyone realizing what has happened. Even though dry rot is not inevitable in such cases, a mildew smell is, and sometimes the smell of mildew simply cannot be removed. It’s even possible for moisture under a house to cause rugs on the floor above to mildew.

Please do not worry needlessly, though. A little water on a rug, or even a lot of water, will not cause it to mildew unless the rug stays wet too long. For instance, rugs stepped onto after a shower or bath rarely are hurt by water. This is because they have time to dry out between bath times. And don’t panic if you spill a glass of water on a rug. Just dry it as well as you can with towels.

Unfortunately, besides causing mildew and dry rot, water sometimes causes dyes in rugs to bleed or run. All you can do in this situation is to get the rug dry as soon as possible and to send it to an expert rug washer. If a rug is just a little wet, as from a spilled glass of water, do what was suggested above. Merely soak up as much water as possible with a towel or paper towel and everything will probably be just fine. If you are worried about the floor underneath, elevate the wet spot until it dries. And, of course, you can always contact the team of experts at Oriental Express if you have any questions.

A rug that is thoroughly wet is another matter. The goal is to dry it before it mildews in about four or five days. If you have a Shopvac or other vacuum that will take in water, vacuum out as much water as you can. If you have sunlight and a place to lay the rug, open it and let it finish drying outdoors. Or, if you know that the rug is dirty as well as wet, dry it enough so that you can get it to an Oriental rug cleaning specialist.

With that in mind, let’s look at some common signs that your rug is developing mold or mildew.

Strange Musty Smell

A musty, basement-like smell is one of the telltale signs of mold growth. If you spend lots of time at your home or business, you may have stopped noticing this smell – but anybody who enters into your space will surely notice it. If you smell a musty odor or a visitor comments on it, you should make sure that your carpet gets checked for mold.

Carpet Age

Most people stubbornly hold on to their carpets even when they know it’s time to replace it. The older the carpet is, the more susceptible it is to mold development. In fact, many people who smell the telltale musty mold smell on their carpet simply think that it’s a symptom of their carpets age – this is wrong.


Mold quickly develops when carpets are exposed to water for even a short period of time. If your carpet has damp spots, there may be a leak in the floor. As a general rule, carpets in basements are more likely to develop mold. If there is a leak, it should be cleaned and dried as soon as possible in order to stop mold growth. Even the smallest amount of moisture, like that from a spilled drink, can quickly become an environment for mold to foster.


Mold causes allergies in most humans – and even asthma or bronchitis! If somebody in your space suddenly starts experiencing these issues, you simply MUST have your carpet inspected for mold. Not everybody experiences these symptoms, however.

Weird Coloring

If mold growth in your carpet has been left to foster, you might notice greenish or blackish spots in your carpet. Check underneath the carpet, as usually, these areas develop mold based discoloration before the upper surface.

These are just some of the signs of mold growth. It can sometimes be tricky to know if it’s time to get a rug cleaning, or perhaps to fully replace your rug. That’s where Oriental Express comes in. Contact us today with any questions you may have. We proudly serve the Las Vegas area. We look forward to hearing from you.

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