How to Clean Mildew From Carpet

Mildew is a mold that thrives in humid habitats.

Often the source of a musty odor, these tiny organisms are difficult to kill, especially when they are growing on a soft or organic surface. If you have mildew on your carpet, invest in a carpet cleaner that will kill most of the mold that is present. These cleaners are much more effective than household remedies, which may remove existing mold but be unable to stop further mildew growth.

Open all of the windows if humidity is low outdoors. If you live in a high humidity climate, use a dehumidifier to decrease the moisture in the room quickly.

Try to illuminate the room as much as possible. Sunlight is preferred, but even artificial light can inhibit further mildew growth.

Using a vacuum cleaner, remove as much of the mildew as possible from the carpet. After you have finished this step, remove and dispose of the vacuum cleaner bag.

Spot treat any obviously mildewed areas with a liquid carpet cleaner that will kill mildew and other molds. Keep in mind that mildew spreads quickly, so treat a wide perimeter around any visible spots. If there are no visible spots or damp areas, you can skip this step.

After the carpet cleaner has soaked into the stain for at least thirty minutes, or the manufacturer's recommended amount of time, blot the area with a towel.

Steam clean the entire carpet using a cleaning formula used to kill mildew. Steam cleaners can be rented from many home improvement centers.

Using fans and open windows as necessary, dry the carpet quickly. Sunlight will also prevent any mildew from growing while the carpet dries.

Vacuum the area thoroughly once dry and dispose of the bag once vacuuming is complete.

Things You Will Need

  • Dehumidifier (optional)
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Liquid carpet cleaner
  • Towel
  • Steam cleaner
  • Steam cleaner formula


  • If the mildew smell persists, the carpet pad was most likely affected. In this case, the pad must be replaced and the carpet removed and cleaned to completely eliminate the problem.


  • Use a mask when cleaning mildew if you have a history of respiratory problems. Try to keep pets and children out of the room until cleaning is complete. Mildew often indicates the presence of a leak in a pipe, roof, or window. Be sure that the cause of any excessive moisture is removed before you begin cleaning. In areas that are often humid, consider adding a dehumidifier to prevent further problems.

About the Author

Amy A. Whittle is a freelance writer who specializes in home improvement, green living and pet care issues. Her work has been published by Woman's, the Huffington Post and other online and print publications.