There is considerable confusion in the minds of restoration professionals regarding the proper approach to carpets that are part of a water loss where visible fungal growth is present. While it is the practice of many organizations to clean carpets subjected to Category 3 water loss, despite the potential for sickness from biological contamination in the water that is extracted prior to cleaning, there is greater hesitation in addressing wet carpet with visible colonies of fungus. Part of this hesitation lies in the nagging concern that standard cleaning protocols for carpets may not be removing all the fungal organisms. Unless the mold is properly removed, the restoration contractor is failing in their duty to return the structure to a pre-loss condition.
In the fall of 2018, an opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of carpet cleaning procedures and chemistry for fungal contamination situations became available to Wonder Makers Environmental. One of our clients had a good-sized office building (approximately 14,000 square feet) that was dormant as they awaited a new tenant. The maintenance staff checked the building on a monthly basis to make sure no problems arose and were surprised in September when they entered and were immediately assaulted with a dank, musty odor. Moving from the tiled vestibule to the main part of the structure revealed the source of the odor: fungal growth on the carpet in virtually every part of the building.