When water finds its way into your home, it can cause serious damage, especially to carpeting. Luckily, just because your carpet was exposed to flood water, it doesn't necessarily mean you have to get rid of it. Check out these three facts you should know about flood-damaged carpet so you can learn if it's okay to keep your carpet and, if so, how to clean it.
It May Be Safer to Discard Damaged Carpet
When your carpet has been exposed to flood water, you have two options: discard or keep your carpet. Which option you choose largely depends on the type of flood water and whether or not it is contaminated. For example, if a nearby river overflowed and flooded your home, there is a good chance that water has been exposed to sewage. Even professional cleaners may not be able to remove all the contaminants from your carpet, which exposes your family to health risks.
Not all flood water has been exposed to sewage. If a pipe with clean water burst or your water heater started expelling water into your home, that water isn't going to contain contaminants. Similarly, fresh rain water isn't generally contaminated. So if you experience a heavy rain that is too much for your foundation to handle, causing the water to seep into your basement, you shouldn't need to discard any exposed carpet.
Drying Should Begin Immediately
If you are confident there were not contaminants in the water and choose to keep the carpet, you'll need to dry and clean the carpet. As soon as you stop the water from getting into your home, it's time to begin the drying process, and your goal is to dry the carpet as quickly as possible. If the carpet dries slowly, it has more time to develop mold growth, which means you'll have to discard and replace the carpet or expose yourself and your family to potential health risks.
To accelerate the drying process, use a wet/dry vacuum, a commercial extractor, or a carpet cleaner to suck up excess water. This will get up most of the water, but the carpet will still be damp. At this point, you just have to let the carpet dry naturally, but you can use fans to help speed up the process a little. A dehumidifier can also help. Plus, because a dehumidifier reduces the amount of moisture in the air, it hinders mold growth.
Carpet You Keep Should Be Properly Cleaned
Once the carpet is completely dried, it's time to start cleaning. Your best option for getting a thorough cleaning is to hire professional carpet cleaners. They'll have steam cleaners that can clean, sanitize, and deodorize the carpet, so it is as fresh and safe as before the water damage. If your carpet is held down with tack strips, it may be best to remove it, send it for cleaning, replace the padding (carpet padding is difficult to clean) and then reinstall the carpet.
If the exposure to water was minimal, you can choose to clean the carpet yourself. Start by vacuuming the carpet and then shampoo it. Even after cleaning, you may notice a musty odor. You can get rid of it with the use of carpet cleaning powders (baking soda works, too). Simply sprinkle the powder, leave it on overnight, and then vacuum the carpet.
As long as there are no hazardous contaminants in the flood water, you can clean and keep your flood-exposed carpet. However, mold is your enemy, so make sure you dry fast and clean your carpet completely. For more information about carpet cleaning, contact a professional service in your area today.