Flooding is one of the biggest challenges a homeowner can face, particularly because cleaning up after a flood needs quick decision-making, and quick action – two things that are easier said than done, especially when dealing with the stress of a flood. But if you do act quickly, you can salvage a good portion of your belongings, including your carpet.

Was it just rain?

It’s important to know just what was in the water that entered your home. If rainwater flooded the house, it’s possible to save your carpet, and other items as well. Carpets exposed to rainwater alone should be cleaned within 24 hours of being saturated. However, if sewage or rainwater partially contaminated with sewage has entered your home and soaked your carpet, you’ll need to either discard your carpet or have it cleaned and dried by a professional carpet cleaning service.

Water from the sea, a river, or a lake that comes into contact with the ground before it reaches your home is also considered unsanitary and can cause serious health problems. Like in the instance of sewage, it’s best to call a professional carpet cleaner or discard the carpeting altogether.

fans large and small

Get the air flowing

Once you’re sure it’s safe to head into the areas of your house that have been flooded, open all the windows in the room with the carpet. Not only will some fresh air help alleviate the odour, but it will also help dry out the carpet. Next, set up fans near the windows – preferably on the window box itself, if possible – and crank the fans to their highest setting. If there are ceiling fans in the carpeted room, turn those up as well.

To help prevent the growth of mould, and further the drying process, bring a dehumidifier into the room, which will take more moisture out of the air.

Move things out

Remove any items from the carpeted room so that they can be safeguarded, and so that they won’t get in the way of your drying and cleaning efforts.

Get to the padding

If your carpet was installed with tack strips, it may be possible to remove the carpet, have it cleaned, and then reinstalled. You’re better off replacing carpet padding, because any attempts to clean the padding will likely be futile.

Wet-dry vacuums and carpet shampooers

Thoroughly go over your carpet with a wet-dry vacuum. Keep running the vacuum and emptying it as necessary, until it no longer sucks up water. You may need to go over the carpet many times to get out all the water, but it’s best to do a thorough job; even a bit of leftover moisture can lead to mould growth down the road.

After you’ve worked the wet-dry vac, you’ll need to use a carpet shampooer to really clean out the dirt and odour.

Dry and sprinkle baking soda

Once the carpet has dried from the shampoo treatment, use an ordinary vacuum to go over the area. If you’re left with a lingering, musty smell, sprinkle some baking soda across the carpet and work it in with a broom or sponge mop. Let the baking soda sit in the carpet overnight, and then vacuum it up. Vacuum the carpet twice, going back and forth in a different direction on the second run.

One last note, since most new carpets are made of nylon, they should not be treated with bleach.

Recent Posts