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Step by Step Guide on Cleaning Carpet After Water Damage

Cleaning Advice / February 26, 2024


Returning home to discover a flooded carpet can be an incredibly stressful and worrying experience. Whether due to a burst pipe, overflowing appliance, bad weather, or some other cause, carpet water damage needs to be addressed quickly to prevent further harm. By following some key steps, you can help salvage your carpets and limit damage to your property.

Assess the Situation

The first step is to turn off the water source if possible to prevent additional flooding. Then, determine the extent of the damage – how large an area is affected and how deeply the water has soaked in. Gently press on the carpet in several spots to see if there is standing water underneath. Identify any vulnerable items that need to be moved like furniture or electronics. You’ll need fans and dehumidifiers, so gather what you have or make preparations to borrow or buy more.

Remove Excess Water

Blot up any surface water on the carpet by pressing firmly with towels or other absorbent materials. Use a wet/dry vacuum to extract as much free water as possible. Don’t rub aggressively as this can damage the carpet fibers. Lift up any wet carpet edges and vacuum water from the backing and floor underneath. Open closet doors and window coverings to allow air circulation. Remove vent covers to drain condensation from ductwork. Extract water from upholstered furniture as well. The goal is to get out all easily removable moisture.

Increase Airflow

Preventing mold growth depends on drying out the carpet and surroundings quickly before microbial growth takes hold. Place industrial fans strategically around the wet carpet, blowing air over the surface rather than directly down onto it. Position dehumidifiers to steadily remove moisture from the room air. Keep air conditioning running – the cold, dry air will hasten drying. Maintain plenty of ventilation by keeping interior doors open and running any exhaust fans. Air movement across the carpet helps carry away evaporating water.

Lift Up Carpet Edges

Check for carpet tack strips around the edges of the room and lift up the carpet carefully from them. Fold the edge back over itself, out of the way. Use fans to blow air directly onto the exposed underside and floor. Check for trapped moisture and signs of mold growth. Applying heat can help dry out the carpet backing and flooring adhesive. A professional can inject heated air between the carpet and floor using special equipment. Take precautions not to burn the flooring.

Sanitise and Deodorise

Once most visible moisture has been removed, sanitise and deodorise the carpet. Mix an oxygen bleach powder like Oxiclean with hot water and apply it liberally over the affected area using a sprayer. Let it soak 10-15 minutes before extracting with a carpet cleaner machine. Run the machine slowly over the area multiple times to rinse thoroughly. Alternatively, you can try using white vinegar or disinfectant mixed with water. Repeat this cleaning process over subsequent days until no musty smells remain.

Consider Professional Drying

If water flooding is extensive or you cannot access areas under carpet to dry properly, contact a professional water damage and flood restoration company. Their powerful truck-mounted extraction units can effectively remove far more water than a portable machine. They also have commercial dehumidifiers and fans to control moisture levels, temperature sensors to monitor drying progress, plus tools to lift carpet and dry all sides.

Pros Can Save Your Carpets

Hiring pros may make the difference between restoring your carpet successfully versus needing full replacement. Their skills, specialised gear, and fast response time increase the chances of drying carpets before microbial growth and mold takes hold underneath. They also can spot secondary moisture issues you may miss – in walls and baseboards for example. If needed, some companies offer emergency water extraction services 24/7.

Remove & Replace Wet Carpet Padding

Even if the surface carpet dries out, the pad underneath may stay damp and be a source of lingering odors and potential mold issues. Expect to remove and replace any padding that got significantly wet. Carefully lift up the carpet, roll back the old pad, and install new padding cut to fit. Then re-stretch the original carpet back in place and secure the edges.

Monitor & Address Lingering Issues

Keep monitoring the previously flooded area for any resurfacing moisture or smells indicating hidden dampness. Use moisture meters and humidity gauges to check for elevated readings. Inspect carpet edges and the underlying floor for signs of water damage or mold/mildew growth which signal continuing moisture problems. Address any damp spots or microbial growth immediately to prevent spreading.

Perform Thorough Carpet Cleaning

As a final sanitising step once fully dry, perform a deep cleaning over the entire affected area. This helps remove any remaining bacteria, deodorises completely, and removes cleaning solution residues that could otherwise become sticky. Be sure carpets are fully dry first – cleaning wet carpets can push stains deeper. Allow at least 48 hours drying time before doing any cleaning.

Key Takeaways

Reacting quickly is crucial for saving wet carpets. Extract standing water promptly then aggressively dry the area with fans and dehumidification. Seek professional help for water-damaged carpets greater than 10-20 square feet. Completely dry and sanitise carpets to prevent mold issues. Monitor for hidden moisture and re-clean as needed. With rapid response, many flooded carpets can be restored successfully.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for wet carpet to dry?

Depending on factors like amount of water, humidity, air circulation, and underlying materials, drying can take 24 hours up to a few days. Using fans and dehumidifiers helps speed drying. Lingering dampness can still be an issue.

What is the best way to dry carpet padding?

Lift up the carpet to expose padding underneath for maximum air circulation. Use fans blowing directly on it. Remove and replace padding if it remains damp more than 1-2 days. Wet padding is a mold risk and source of lingering odors.

When should you call professionals for water damaged carpet?

Contact a flood restoration company for large affected areas greater than 10-20 square feet that you cannot access well to dry out. Their commercial drying equipment and moisture detectors are vital for thoroughly drying in hidden areas.

Can you save wet carpet or does it need replacement?

In many cases, rapid drying can restore lightly soaked low pile carpets successfully. But damage beyond 2 days increases mold risk. For heavy soaking, high pile carpets, signs of wicking to padding or walls, or existing moisture issues, replacement may be needed.

Why Choose Eco Cleaning Brisbane

At Eco Cleaning Brisbane, we are water damage restoration specialists with over 20 years experience assessing flood damage and drying out affected areas. Our IICRC-certified cleaners use powerful truck-mounted extraction, commercial dehumidifiers, and air movers to dry carpets rapidly before mold growth starts. We offer 24/7 emergency response so you get help when you need it most. For a free quote on flood damage restoration services, contact our friendly team today.

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