You have a few options available when cleaning and drying out a wet carpet. The biggest concern, though, is what the source of the water damage is. If it’s a storm or sewer drain that flooded and backed up into your basement, you may need professional help. The water damage caused by such an event may be costly, but the health risks posed are even more serious. Don’t try to rehabilitate rugs and carpets after a major sewage event. Call a pro and have the carpet professionally cleaned or discarded. Otherwise, you can probably fix things yourself.
Things You'll Need
- Rubber gloves
- Wet vac
- Baking soda, cleanser or carpet-freshening powder
Move the carpet (and the padding) outside to air dry if the carpeting isn’t secured and can be removed. Use rubber gloves. You may want to use a wet vac or squeegee before you move it to remove the majority of water. Once outside, sprinkle some baking soda, cleanser or a carpet-fresh product onto the carpet and re-vacuum. Turn the carpet occasionally. Use a bleach solution on the floor in the basement (if that’s where the damage occurred) to sanitize it and kill and prevent mold.
Use a wet vac on the carpet if it cannot be moved to the outside. Use a flat-head attachment and remove as much water as possible. Use a squeegee if you don’t have a wet vac. Set up and turn on some fans as you work. Open any available windows and turn off the furnace and any humidifiers.
Sprinkle baking soda, cleanser or a carpet-fresh product on the carpet once you’ve removed as much water as possible with the wet vac. Spread it with a broom to cover the carpet and then vacuum again.
Poke a tiny hole in the center of the carpet and insert a hook attached to a sturdy string or chord. Loop the chord over a pipe and pull the carpet taught in a tent-like shape to allow air to circulate and dry out the padding. Leave the fans running and turn on a dehumidifier if you have one.
Ensure that the carpet is thoroughly dry before removing the tenting mechanism. This may take a day or more. Walk on the carpet barefooted. Make sure the padding is not wet and leaking through or squishing as you walk. If it is, repeat the tenting maneuver and keep the fans blowing until dry.
Use a bleach solution on all areas surrounding the carpet that came into contact with the water.
Tips & Warnings
- If the weather doesn’t allow you to move the carpet outside, use some chairs over which to drape the carpet to let it dry. Do the same with the padding.
- Padding will act like a sponge and take much longer to dry. You may actually have to roll it up and squeeze the water out. Padding is generally inexpensive. Replace it if it’s not salvageable.
- Do not move the carpeting back into the house until it is thoroughly dry. All your work will be for naught and mildew could develop if the carpet isn’t dry.
- Photo Credit feet and carpet image by jimcox40 from Fotolia.com