water damaged carpet

How to Fix Water Damaged Carpeting

using a wet-vac to dry a water damaged carpetWhen the unthinkable has happened and you’re dealing with water damage in your home or business, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. That’s why it’s important to know what you’re dealing with, have a plan to fix water damage, and know when to call in help.

As water damage repair experts, one of the most asked questions we get is how to fix water damaged carpeting. Is there something you can do to dry the wet carpet or is it just a lost cause?

Instead of hitting the panic button, read through this post to learn what your options are and how to deal with water damaged carpeting.

The Essential First Step: Assess the Situation

Before you even begin trying to dry the carpeting, you need to assess the situation. Has the source of the water been identified? Is it safe for you to try to fix the water damaged carpeting yourself, or are there hazardous materials involved? Has the water been stopped?

If you want to dry the carpet instead of throwing it out, the water that caused the water damage has to be from a clean source – called category 1 water. This is usually from broken pipes, supply lines, and rain or snow. With any other water, it’s usually not safe to keep the carpet.

Flood-damaged carpet can be especially toxic. Flood waters are category 3 by definition because it can contain the worst kinds of contaminants, including mold spores and life-threatening bacteria. Do not even attempt to salvage carpet that was damaged by flooding.

Once you know what you’re dealing with, you can begin to tackle the question of how to dry carpet. If you aren’t going to call a professional team to restore the wet carpet, you should wear protective gear such as a mask, gloves, and boots to protect yourself from anything that may be in or on the carpet.

Keep in mind that you’ll want to keep people off of the carpet as much as possible while it’s wet.

Begin Drying the Damaged Carpet As Soon As Possible

Water damaged carpeting can quickly grow mold and become an issue, so as soon as you’ve determined what you’re dealing with, you should proceed with speed. To give your carpeting the best chance for being saved, you want to have the carpet completely dry within 48 hours. You can pull water out of your carpet with a wet/dry vacuum or a rental carpet cleaning machine. Make sure you pick a tool that can cover enough service area with sufficient suction. Otherwise, this could be a very long process.

Removing water from carpet isn’t always always possible, however. You may not know about the water damage until long after it occurred, or you may have trouble trying to get it dry because there was a lot of carpeting or water involved. Whatever the case, move as quickly as you can and know when to call in professional help.

How Do You Dry Wet Carpet?

You can use a wet-vac to dry carpet after water damage. This is an inexpensive method, but it is time consuming. It’s important to know you should use the vacuum in one long stroke with many passes to dry the carpet. Simply moving back and forth, like you would dry vacuum, won’t remove the water from the carpeting, just push it around.

Blowers, fans, and dehumidifiers can aide in the drying process and get the carpet dry faster. You want to set them up so they circulate the air in your house and open any windows you can if weather permits. Note: do not open windows if it’s raining or humid outside.

These instructions apply if you have carpeting without a pad. If you have padding under your carpeting and experience water damage, there’s an extra step you should take.

Can You Use the Same Padding When the Carpet Gets Wet?

No, you can’t use the same padding if your carpet gets wet. Think of the carpet padding like a giant sponge. It soaks up the water and it won’t dry out. The dampness will cause it to mildew and mold, which will cause an odor and unsafe conditions under the carpet – no matter how dry you get the carpet itself.

If you have carpet padding, pull up the wet carpet carefully and remove the pad underneath it. You should use gloves for this process. Once you have the padding out, throw it away, and lay the carpet back down flat. Use the wet vac as mentioned above, with blowers and dehumidifiers, to dry the carpeting.

Once the carpet and the floor under it is completely dry, you can choose to install a new carpet pad and then lay the carpet back in place. Wet carpeting that has been dried out can be difficult to work with, so you may want to hire a professional to make sure the carpet is in place and properly secure, so you won’t have bunching and unsightly bulges.

How to Clean Water Damaged Carpeting – Is Bleaching Carpets Smart?

Once you’ve successfully solved how to dry carpet, you want to make sure you take the time to clean it (or have it cleaned) so any germs or contaminants won’t linger in the once wet carpet. You can use a home carpet cleaning system, rent a machine, or hire a professional team to come in and clean things up.

You’ll want to apply an anti-microbial cleaner at the end of the cleaning process to prevent possible mold growth.

Bleaching carpets isn’t a good idea usually because the bleach can damage the back of the carpeting and the flooring underneath. If your carpet isn’t white already, bleaching isn’t usually an option because it can strip the color from the fibers. You should try to clean your carpet in other ways first and consider bleach a very last option.

How Long Does It Take for Mold to Grow on Wet Carpet?

mold spots formed on carpetMold can grow on carpeting after water damage or flooding has occurred. This usually happens due to delamination, the process in which the water weakens and loosens the glue. This allows the carpet to separate and create a space for mold to grow.

If you’re wondering how long does it take for mold to grow on wet carpet, you may be surprised at the answer. It happens fast – in as 24 to 48 hours. The initial mold growth may be small, but if not dealt with, it can take a week or two of growing before it’s easily visible.

Be Smart About Dealing with Water Damaged Carpeting

In most cases, drying water damaged carpeting is best left to the professionals to make sure it’s done properly. This way, you have your best chance of saving your carpet, eliminating mold and mildew, and breathing clean air in the future. It’s not enough to just know how to dry carpet once it gets wet. Our team is equipped to handle water, fire, and mold in any situation, so contact us for all of your restoration needs.