Regular carpets, area rugs, wall-to-wall carpeting and wall-to-wall carpeting add aesthetic appeal to any space. They can be used to tie together different decor elements and transform a space into a home.
However, because they are on the floor, water damage to carpets can occur due to flooding, faulty plumbing or other unforeseeable problems. A water damaged carpet is more than an inconvenience. It can also breed harmful bacteria and mold, which could pose a health risk to your family.
Proper carpet cleaning following water damage is key to avoiding mold and mildew, which can lead to costly carpet replacement. Learn how to do it.
How can a carpet get water damage?
Most carpets are water damaged for the following reasons:
- Water damage can be caused by rainwater flooding, malfunctioning appliances, or even accidental spillages.
- Greywater damage This water may be caused by a drain pipe in a dishwasher or a toilet overflow.
- Blackwater damage – A carpet that has been damaged by blackwater is extremely contaminated, as blackwater is usually a result from sewer backups.
You may notice that your carpet is dampened or wet from a hidden leak under the surface. You may not notice that your carpet is damp or wet in these cases. If the leak persists, you will notice a musty, foul-smelling smell.
How do you clean a water-damaged carpet?
Cleaning a carpet from clean water is different than cleaning it with sewage water (blackwater). These are the steps to follow for each.
How to extract water from carpet after flooding with clean water
Can a flooded floor be saved? You can save a flooded carpet if you take the necessary steps immediately after noticing the problem. In all cases of water damage, it is important to act quickly. Carpet Tech, a carpet and restoration company, can respond 24 hours if you have an flood emergency. These are the steps to clean wet carpet following flooding:
- Remove water from carpet. After taking out all furniture, evaluate the situation and determine the best course of action. You will need to immediately remove water from carpet if it is saturated. A bucket or pump can help you get the process started. However, you should call professional flood restoration.
- Dry the carpet. After removing all water from the carpet, open your windows and turn on the overhead fans to increase air circulation and speed up the drying process. You can rent dehumidifiers or your flood restoration company will place them strategically. This will ensure that the area is dry evenly and correctly. As this will slow down mold growth, it is a good idea to remove carpet from the floor.
- Replacing the padding: While your carpet may still be salvageable, water damage can cause serious damage to your carpet padding. Sometimes drying your carpet may not be possible. In these cases, you can replace the padding with a new one.
- Take your time: Drying can take up to three working days. It is important to be patient.
Carpet Cleaning after a Sewage Overflow
Also known as sewer backups or sewage overflows, sewer water can seep through your carpet when you least expect it. This puts your family at risk for gastrointestinal problems and other health issues. In 24 hours, your carpet will start to develop mold. It is important to get it cleaned immediately. These are the steps:
- Prioritize protection Water from sewage overflows is contaminated and potentially dangerous. To prevent direct contact with sewer water, you should wear rubber gloves, boots, a mask, and protective eyewear.
- Assess damage: You may need to replace your carpet or hire professional carpet cleaners with Biohazard Training. You may be able restore your carpet if there is a small amount of sewage that has affected only a portion.
- Cleaning is key to avoid mold growth in wet carpets. To remove as much sewage water from the carpet as possible, use a vacuum that has the right filtration system. You can use old towels if you don’t own one. Dry both sides of your carpet if possible.
- Disinfect – After you are certain that all the sewer water has been dried out, spray your carpet with a disinfectant. Then scrub the carpet to get rid of dirt and bacteria.
- Drying: After cleaning all affected areas thoroughly, open your windows and turn on your industrial dehumidifiers or fans to circulate air. You can also dry it outdoors.
It is risky and difficult to clean carpets after water damage from a sewer backup. The Center for Disease Control advises against cleaning bodily fluids without adequate protection. It is always better to have professionals do the job.
Additional Tips for water damage carpet cleaning and Drying After Water Damage
These are just a few more ways to speed up cleaning and drying.
- Take out all furniture and other items from the area.
- Take your small carpet outside if it is too big.
- To dry it if it is cold, you can use a heater or dehumidifier.
Can a Carpet get Mold if it gets wet?
Unfortunately, yes. Unfortunately, yes. It eats carbon from your carpet’s surface and spreads it, eventually causing the material to be broken down. It is important to look out for mold signs in your home.
Mold can cause damage to your flooring and carpeting. It also can trigger allergic reactions like sneezing or wheezing, itchy eyes, itchy nose, and irritated eyes. Mold from water-damaged carpets may trigger asthma attacks or shortness of breathing if you have asthma. This is why proper drying and water extraction are so important.
How Fast Does Mold Grow in Carpets?
Mold can grow in carpets within 24 hours of water damage from black water, such as sewage.
Mold can grow within 24 to 48 hours depending on how damp the carpet is. Mold is often invisible so here are some indicators that your carpet may be infested.
- Smell : This is the first sign that mold growth has begun. It’s usually a foul, musty smell.
- Respiratory problems – If you, or someone else in your family, experience allergic reactions and a musty odor, it’s likely that mold is already present in your carpet.
- Coloration: Mold can cause carpet to become discolored.
Mold removal experts are essential if you suspect mold.
Drying Carpets after Water Damage
Proper drying is key because mold thrives under humid or dark conditions. You can dry your carpet by extracting as much water possible.
- Shop vacuum – These vacuums are similar to regular vacuums but have a stronger suction. They can lift dirt and moisture from deep within your carpet fibers.
- Fan – If your ceiling fans are on, turn them on to speed up drying and increase air circulation. If you don’t have ceiling fans, turn your fan to the floor. There are fans that can dry carpets. These fans can blow a lot of air and are very efficient at drying carpets after water damage. This specialized equipment is used by flood damage restoration professionals. They will strategically position it in your home to dry your flooring quickly and effectively before it becomes permanently damaged.
- Dehumidifier – This electrical appliance reduces and maintains the optimal humidity in your air. You can turn it on if you have one to dry your carpet. To speed up drying, you can use both the fan and dehumidifier simultaneously.
- Heater Warmer air drys wet areas quicker than colder air. A portable heater is the best option to dry water-damaged carpet. If you don’t own one, your HVAC system can be used.
- Open windows – If you don’t have the appliances or aren’t in a hurry to dry your carpet, open your windows and let the air dry the carpet slowly.
- Towels – Towels can also be used to dry carpets after they have been damaged by water. To speed up the drying process, cover the area with a towel and let it absorb the moisture.
To speed up drying, combine a heater, dehumidifier and fan. The heater will evaporate the moisture while the dehumidifier will encourage airflow.
How long does it take to extract water from a carpet?
It’s impossible to give a quick answer because the time factor is:
- How saturated your carpet was after being exposed to water: Carpets that have been flooded take three to five days to dry, while carpets that are partially wet may take between 12 and 24 hours.
- The carpet type is Woolen carpets take more time to dry than synthetics or Berber carpets.
- Water extraction method Drying carpet with a professional heater fan takes less time than using a regular fan.
Can a Carpet be Replaced after Water Damage?
It all depends on whether or not you replace your carpet after it has been water damaged.
How much water did the carpet absorb?
You don’t have to replace your carpet if there’s a small spillage. Instead, you can dry it with towels or fans. If your carpet, padding, subflooring, and floor are all soaked, replacement might be the best option.
How long does water stay on your carpet?
Mold can grow in as little as 24 hours. You will need to shop for a new carpet if your carpet has been damp for more than a week.
Carpet that is not wet from clean water can be cleaned and it will still contain little or no contaminants. If your carpet is completely wet from sewage or other water damage, it may be worth replacing it or hiring professionals.