How to Clean Up a Wet Carpet

Well, the unthinkable has happened. Whether a pipe burst, or a drain backed up, or some other disaster struck, now your carpet is soaked.

It’s not enough to open the windows and air it out. There are steps you must take right away to make sure that the wet carpet does not become a moldy, mildewy mess. Letting the problem go could cause further damage, and even cause you or your family to get sick.

The solution breaks down into two simple ideas: get the carpet dry, and get the carpet clean. Here are the steps to accomplish each of those as quickly as you can.

Get your carpet dry

The first, most obvious objective is to get your carpet dry. Start by removing all the standing water. This can sometimes happen in a basement by opening or clearing a floor drain.

Then use a wet-vac to soak up as much water as possible. Don’t have a wet-vac at home? Ask a neighbor, or rent one from a local hardware store or equipment rental store. They are almost as simple to use as a vacuum, but require filling and dumping the tank multiple times. This can be heard, heavy work.

While you are doing this, create as much air flow as possible in the affected area. Open windows and use fans to create airflow and promote evaporation. Specially designed fans that force air out at ground level can also be rented for this purpose.

Getting it dry includes lifting the carpet up and drying or completely replacing the carpet padding. Don’t put anything back in place until it is completely dry.

Get it clean

Even after you have completely dried everything out, there is still a chance of mold or mildew developing. So your next step is deep cleaning everything.

Clean exposed hard surfaces with a cleaning solution. This can include a diluted bleach mixture, or store-bought cleaning liquids mixed according to the directions. Again, let them completely dry before returning carpets to their place.

Use a steam-cleaner vacuum to deep clean the carpet (and other upholstered surfaces that might have gotten wet.) Don’t have a steam cleaner? Well, the hardware or tool rental place will again come through for you. If you don’t have experience with it, you can ask the worker for a quick tutorial on how to operate the machine.

Once you’ve dried and cleaned the entire area, you can return everything to its place and get back to life as normal.

Of course, you can also hire a professional experienced service to do this work for you. In central and southern Ohio, this means calling Dry Patrol.

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