How to Dry Wet Carpet in the Basement

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Water leaking into a basement due to cracks in the foundation or cracks in the concrete floor can cause damage to both the carpeting and items in the basement. It can also be due to leaky or broken plumbing pipes. Acting quickly is important to minimize the damage done by a wet carpet, as the wet carpet can encourage mold growth and cause water to pool between the carpet and the floor, causing further cracking. It is important to note that if you routinely have water in your basement, is due to an underlying problem that you need to address, such as broken pipes or cracked foundation walls.

Things You'll Need

  • Wet-dry vacuum
  • Large room fans
  • Dehumidifier

Open windows if there are any in the basement. Remove as much furniture, boxes, tools and other items in contact with the wet carpet and the floor.

Use the wet-dry vac to draw up as much water and dirt as possible. Be careful not to press too hard when vacuuming, as this can cause water to seep deeper into the carpet or push it toward corners of the basement. You may need to empty the vacuum container multiple times during the process.

Place large fans in various areas off the floor of the basement, directing the air flow over the carpeting. Consider placing them on low tables and chairs that are not on the carpet. Turn them on high and secure any items that might be blown around by the air flow.

Place a dehumidifier on a chair or table and turn it on. Allow the fans and dehumidifier to run for hours or overnight, until the carpet appears mostly dry. Check the dehumidifier periodically to refill with water as needed.

Rerun the wet-dry vac on the carpet. Keep the fans running until the carpet is completely dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the carpet appears to be completely saturated, you may need to hire a cleaning service to handle the drying process or have the carpeting replaced.
  • Do not use a regular household vacuum. Use a special wet-dry vacuum, which can be rented from carpet cleaning services and home repair stores.
  • To avoid risks of an electric short circuit, do not let the wires and housings of the fans and dehumidifier touch the carpet directly.
  • If you lift up part of the carpet and find water underneath on the carpet pad or the subfloor, you must promptly remove the carpeting and carpet pad to allow the subfloor to dry. Place the carpeting outside.

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