How to Clean and Dry Wet Carpet After a Flood

When a flood affects the interior of your home, leaving you dealing with standing water in your living quarters, it’s difficult to know where to begin with the cleaning process. And you might be particularly unsure of whether or not you can salvage the carpet, much less return it to its pre-flood state. In truth, if you’re dealing with a serious flooding situation, where inclement weather turns your home interior into a swimming pool, just for example, your carpeting may be beyond saving. However, if you’re dealing with a burst pipe or some other form of water damage that is relatively minor by comparison, there are several steps you can take to remedy the situation, and likely save your carpeting in the process. Here are some tips for cleaning and drying your carpet following a flooding situation.

If there is standing water, you’ll want to begin by eliminating it, and a sump pump could be the solution. Hopefully most of the water will drain away on its own once the flooding situation has passed, but suppose water entered the basement from the outside or a pipe burst indoors. Standing water may simply sit until you address it, evaporating slowly without really draining away. Of course, this amount of water may require you to call for the help of a flood remediation service. Either way, you can’t begin to address the state of your carpet until the majority of the water is gone.

If you only have a small amount of water to deal with initially, however, just enough to make your carpet pretty soggy, you can probably get away with using a wet vac of some sort to clean it. You may be able to rent such equipment at your local hardware store or you can simply purchase a shop vac that is suited to the task of wet work (a wet/dry vacuum). This will allow you to suck up and dispose of much of the moisture that has left your carpet water logged following a flood scenario. And once the carpet is relatively dry, it’s not a bad idea to attack it with a steam cleaner. With this type of wet vac, you can shampoo the carpeting even as you suck out excess water, addressing any staining that has occurred and pulling up remaining dirt and detritus at the same time, as well as reducing potential odors associated with water damage.

Now it’s time to get your carpet totally dry, and this could include opening windows to let air flow through (only if outdoor humidity is low), turning on fans (ceiling and/or floor models), or even running the HVAC to help dry out any remaining moisture. Again, you might need a professional service to help you here since any moisture left behind could lead to issues like mold, mildew, rot, and so on, not only in your carpet, but underneath. There’s a lot you can do on your own – just like you can find the ultimate guide to removing smoke odor online, you can find tutorials on cleaning and drying carpeting after a flood. But if you want to avoid carpet replacement, professional help may be in order.

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