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How to Clean Flooded Carpet

Damaged pipe with leaking water
June 14, 2022

As much as you don't want it, flooding accidents can happen to your carpet. Whether you spilt large amounts of water on it or you experienced a natural disaster and extreme weather, the damage has been done.

Now, you should brace yourself and see what you can do to sort out the flooding problem. Here are some guiding principles on how to dry wet carpets and clean any mess afterwards so that you save your item from water damage.

Questions to Help You Assess the Situation

  • How long has your carpet been wet?
  • Is it soaking wet or slightly damp?
  • Is the problem restricted to a certain area or is the whole carpet wet?
  • What’s the source of the water? Is it sewer water or “clean” rainwater?
  • Has any furniture around the carpet been affected by the flooding?

Why Is It Important to Identify the Source of the Water?

Source of the Water

If you are dealing with grey or black water, like wastewater from your sink and sewage, your carpets may have been contaminated with pathogens. This means that it is not sufficient to dry carpet fabric to protect it from water damage. You will also need to take it a bit further and disinfect the piece.

However, this is not something you should do on your own. It’s best to leave it to an expert cleaner who can infuse the carpets with special antimicrobial products to ensure the item is safe for you and your family.

In some cases, you may even have to discard the carpet so that it doesn't pose a health threat to your household.

Now, if we are talking about rainwater, which is considered free from impurities and contaminants, you don’t need to take any extra precautions and you can simply focus on pulling the dampness out of the saturated fabric.

Once you’ve identified the water source, quickly remove water from the fabric before it gets the chance to cause mould and mildew.

Tools You're Going to Need

  • Clean towels
  • Dehumidifiers
  • Wet-dry vac
  • Baking soda
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Vinegar
  • Air movers or fans to speed up the drying process
  • New padding for your carpets

How Do You Dry Carpet After a Flood?

Here are the steps you can take to dry wet carpet fibres or pad and minimise water damage.

Stack heavy objects on top

If there are hard-to-reach areas, try applying pressure to them with heavy objects. Use a material like dry towels that can absorb as much water from the carpet as possible.

Run fans in the room

Flooded Carpet

When your carpet is no longer soaking wet, you should make certain to circulate air in the room. If you want the piece to dry in no time, good ventilation is imperative. Point a couple of fans or air movers toward the wet area and leave them on for as long as possible.

An air mover is basically an electric appliance that has several purposes, one of which is water damage restoration. It not only serves to disperse fumes but also to force moisture out of items. (If you have ceiling fans, that will work too, although a bit slowly.)

To maximise the results, make sure to open windows to help the carpet air dry.

Resort to carpet extraction

There is something else you can do to speed up the drying process: use a wet-dry vacuum to extract as much water as possible. If you don’t have one, feel free to rent a portable extraction machine from a home improvement store or a hardware store. These are quite powerful. A shop vac can suction water out of the carpet, leaving it partially wet.

Needless to say, if you can take the carpeting outside on a sunny day, it will help to dry the fibres faster. Before you proceed to remove it from the room, you should examine how the item is affixed to the flooring. It may be secured with tack strips.

Keep in mind that the drying process will take a while but it is crucial to get your carpet dry as quickly as you can to prevent mold formation.

How to Clean a Flooded Carpet?

Let’s assume you’ve managed to dry the carpet. It’s time to give it a good clean to draw out any bacteria or musty scents.

Start by vacuuming the entire surface to see if you can pick up any dried out dirt. If the material allows it, use carpet shampoo on the surface following the instructions on the label. If it can only be dry cleaned, you may have to hire a carpet cleaner for the job.

Let the carpet dry fully, then vacuum again. To ensure no musty smell remains, sprinkle baking soda over the targeted areas and leave it to sit overnight. On the next day, grab the vacuum and pass it over the surface twice making sure to lift off all the baking soda.

Another way to absorb bad odours from the carpet is to apply equal parts of water and 3% hydrogen peroxide directly to the fabric (test it on a small section first beforehand). Dab the area with a clean cloth. Leave the mixture on for 30 minutes. It will dry out on its own.

For bad smells, you can leave a bowl full of vinegar on the floor. Vinegar is also great for removing spots and stains.

Tricks and Tips:

Tricks and Tips
  • Get in touch with your home insurance company to ask if flooding is covered; you could be liable to compensation
  • Make sure to also pull moisture from any furniture that has come in contact with the wet carpets and give it a good clean (or search for professional help)
  • Keep any electrical appliances out of standing water and away from the source of dampness
  • Once you are done, make it a point to run dehumidifiers in the room where the flooded carpeting is installed; do so on a daily basis for the months that follow
  •  It's recommended that you stick with a quality filtration system to enhance the air quality on your property after the accident
  • If your carpet comes with padding, get a new pad
  • Don't forget to dry the sub floor and everything that sits under or over the carpet (like padding and furniture)
  • Keep the windows open for as long as needed

When Everything Else Fails, Call in Professional Carpet Cleaning Experts

If you are faced with a heavily soaked carpet, your best bet would be to contact professional carpet cleaning services and water restoration specialists. The reason is simple: they can inspect the carpeting and assess the situation more adequately to then provide the best solution before your item has started to deteriorate.

Not only that, but they actually have industry-grade equipment that is much more powerful and effective than store-bought products and machines.

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