Water, they say has no enemy but that does not stop it from being a nuisance in some situations especially to homeowners. Property damage is one such occasion. How the damage comes about, be it from flooding, broken pipes, snow, rain, is important to know because it reveals whether it is a healthy choice to salvage the material or discard it instead.
The occurrence of water damaged carpeting is not as rare as finding a typewriter in a house, almost every homeowner has experienced some form of carpet casualty from water, is experiencing it and would experience it, that is how common it is. This knowledge should however not discourage you from owning a home but prepare you for the life of a householder. Preempt the attack and try to counter and minimize it from ever happening by promptly fixing leaking roofs, repairing broken pipes as soon as possible.
So when the expected unexpectedly happens, do not hit the panic button just yet, take a breather then assess the situation. This would allow you to know whether to go ahead to salvage the carpet or simply let it go, saving yourself the stress.
Frequently, most people opt for keeping a water damaged carpet but do not know the when that should be applicable. It is relatively safe to restore a carpet that is from a clean source like rainwater, broken pipes, snow; the exposure to the damage is less than 48 hours and the amount of damage sustained by the carpet is mild-moderate, and not that the carpet is underwater unless you risk mold growth. Flood damaged carpet is toxic and hazardous. It contains a cocktail of harmful bacteria and other contaminants including mold, spores. Please be advised not to attempt saving such a carpet, it is better to part with it.
Evaluate your situation
During such a time of crisis, it is normal to be alarmed, go into crisis mode, lament and so on. The downside to this is that you would have succeeded in making yourself feel worse, carpet has marginal chances of being saved because of the time you wasted and the problems still await. So assessing your situation cannot be overstated. Check if the source of the water has been identified and stopped. Is the area safe? Is the carpet restorable? Is it safe for you to fix the carpet yourself? All these decisions need to be taken promptly unless you risk mold growth.
If you decide to breathe new life to your damaged carpet, know that it is not an easy task and embarking on such a journey by yourself instead of going for a professional restoration company, is overwhelming. Lucky for you that we got you and can put you through simple doable steps that would eventually restore your carpet.
Once you know what you are dealing with, proceed with the swiftness of the fox to mercilessly get the water from the carpet out, why? Mold! Mold! Mold! And trust us, you do not want it in your home. Before starting off, make sure you are adequately protected, i.e. you are in protective gear; glove, mask, boots.
There are several ways to go about drying the carpet:
By using a wet vacuum to dry the carpet, this can be rented or purchased. Using a regular home vacuum would not handle vacuuming up water and after using a wet vac, you should be left with a wet but still manageable carpet.
Turn on your fans, dehumidifiers, even hair dryers; they can aid the drying process.
Open the windows to let the sunlight in or if the carpet is not glued down, consider drying outside under the sun, although this is weather dependent. Do not open windows or take the carpet to dry outside if the environment is wet and humid.
These apply if you have a carpet without a pad. If your carpet has a pad, it is almost impossible to salvage because pads tend to soak up water just like a sponge. This would not dry out, causing an eventual colonization by mold and mildew due to its sustained dampness. The eventual odor and unsafeness of the carpet make keeping such a hazard. Hence, all carpet paddings that have sustained significant water damage is advised to be thrown out. You can lay the restorable carpet flat (with professional help) or get another carpet pad in its place.
During the drying process, remove all furniture that is on it, they affect each other adversely in an equal manner in the sense that any dyes or stains on furniture can be absorbed by the carpet, causing staining. The furniture can also be damaged in turn if it absorbs water from the wet carpet. Limit and stop all traffic on a wet carpet as this can further stain it.
Drying the carpet should not be the only focus, the floorboards too can get wet and it would need to be dried. You can do this by dehumidifying, using fans, sun drying (open up the windows), otherwise, the floor would buckle, exposure to mold growth becomes evident, frustrating your efforts to salvage the carpet.
Clean the carpet and floorboards
After successfully drying your carpet, you should clean it (or have it cleaned) thoroughly so that any contaminant or germs it houses would be evicted immediately. This can be done by either seeking a professional clean up service or doing it yourself. Doing the cleanup yourself requires the use of a commercial rug shampoo and a sponge.
The cleaning is done in a circular motion and a stiff bristle brush can be used if the carpet is already stained, rinse with clear water. Use as little water as possible on the sponge, wringing the sponge each time, and as the water gets dirty, discard it and get a clean one. When moving to the next area of carpet, overlap the first area to prevent streaking when it dries. Once you are done cleaning, repeat the drying process.
Application of anti-microbial cleaner helps get rid of mold, spores, fungi, mildew that tend to develop within the carpet. Sanitizing the floorboards, baseboards and walls should also be done.
Call in for expert care
Professionals are not only equipped with the tools but also experience and knowledge about fixing a water damaged carpet as they deal with such on a daily basis, giving advice on whether to save the carpet or get it replaced. Although the cost of hiring a professional can be a bit discouraging, it would save you a lot of hassle and time in the long run.