How to Clean Car Carpet After Water Damage

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Water damaged carpet must be cleaned and dried immediately following the event that caused the soaking. Wet carpet and padding can hold water for long periods of time creating toxic mold and damaging the floor underneath. Whether damaged by a flood, pipe breakage or appliance defect, take steps to clean the carpet before beginning any other repairs.

Things You'll Need

  • Fans High-pressure hose Sponge Stiff bristle scrub brush Commercial carpet cleaner
  • Lift the carpet from the floor and move it outdoors if possible. Before it can be cleaned, the carpet must be dried completely. Padding is impossible to dry. Completely remove and destroy the underlying padding. Allow the subflooring to dry and clean it with a strong disinfectant before replacing the carpet. Run fans over the floor to speed up the drying process.

  • Hang the carpet over a clothesline or fence and use a high-pressure hose to thoroughly clean the carpet while it hangs outside. Spray water directly on the carpet over each section. Begin at the top of the carpet and continue to the bottom. Spray both sides of the carpet. Continue spraying until the water runs clear.

  • Use a sponge to rub a commercial carpet cleaner in an area about 12 square inches. If the carpet is dirty, use a stiff bristle brush instead of a sponge. Rub in a circular motion and rinse the area with the hose. Repeat until the water runs clear again. Continue scrubbing the carpet until it has all been cleaned, careful to overlap each section to prevent streaks from showing after the carpet dries.

  • Allow the carpet to dry completely. Leave it hanging if possible so that air can circulate through all the fibers, front and back. If you have to bring the carpet indoors, lay it on a warm dry floor. Turn it over once the top is dry to allow the underside to dry completely. Blow fans over the carpeting to speed up the process. Wait an extra day or two to make sure the carpet is dry all the way through.

  • Put down new padding on a clean, dry floor. Install new tack strips to make sure no water is left to fester. Lay the carpet back on the dried and cleaned floor where the accident occurred. Vacuum the carpet rigorously numerous times to remove dust and residual shampoo that has dried.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consider hiring a professional carpet restoration company to make sure all the water is removed to avoid future health hazards for your family.
  • Dry the carpet in a ventilated area if you cannot move it outside. Germs and mold can penetrate other fabric in the home and leave a residue that could cause further damage if the moisture is left inside the house.

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