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Mold In The Carpet?

If your carpet has been damaged by water, for the safety of you and your bird, get it replaced.

Susan Chamberlain

Some birds, like caiques (pictured) or the cockatoos, like to play on the ground, so it's important to keep the carpet clean
Some birds, like caiques (pictured) or the cockatoos, like to play on the ground, so it's important to keep the carpet clean.

Q: I had a bad water leak and now need to replace the carpet padding. The carpet can be saved. Is this safe to do? I have a green-cheeked conure and a parakeet.

A: Even under the best conditions carpeting can be a host for mold spores, mildew, bacteria and other yucky stuff. Water damage is serious because it can promote the growth of even more mold and mildew. There are many varieties of molds, some more hazardous than others. Most of us have seen news reports about people whose homes have become infested with mold caused by dampness and water seepage behind the walls. Home insurance companies have clauses regarding mold, (check to be sure your policy includes coverage) and in some areas, homebuyers are demanding inspections to rule out the presence of mold before plunking down their cash.
Mold can make you sick, and it can make your bird sick. When mold spores become airborne, they can be inhaled, thus causing respiratory problems. Whether or not your dampened carpeting is safe to use depends on several factors. Was the floodwater clean, or the result of a backed-up sewage system? Bacteria and organic matter from wastewater may have made the rug unsanitary. Was the carpeting actually cleaned or simply air-dried following the flood? Can the cleaning company assure you that the steam or detergent eliminated mold spores in the rug? Was the carpeting thoroughly dried following treatment? Dampness breeds mold and mildew.
What kind of sub-flooring do you have? Is it mold and mildew free? Wood or particleboard may have absorbed water and may need to be replaced or treated as well. How is the ventilation in the room? Airy, sun-filled rooms in dry climates are less likely to harbor mold and mildew than dank, under-ventilated rooms or basements.  Do you use a HEPA air filter in the room? This can filter some mold spores from the air.
Evaluate the damage and potential for mold carefully and make choices based on your individual situation. Visit Green Building Supply for non-toxic alternatives to cleaning supplies and building and remodeling materials. Consult manufacturer’s directions, and check with your avian veterinarian for advice about specific products. Never use aerosols or pump sprays in closed spaces or near your birds. 

Want more tips on how to keep you and your bird's air clean?

Is Your Air Safe For Your Bird?
All About Air Filters For Pet Birds 

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Posted: October 25, 2013, 12:00 p.m. PDT

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