9 Damp Carpet Cleansing Myths

David Beckam

Water has damaged your carpets. Perhaps you experienced a toilet leak, it’s possible your drinking water heater burst, maybe your kid remaining the faucet working in the sink for hrs.

What need to you do to dry your wet carpet to lessen problems to your carpet and pad?

Initial of all, there is some standard data about carpets you really should know that applies to all the myths .

Common Details about H2o and Carpets

Residential carpet commonly has a pad underneath it. The pad can be anywhere from 1/4 inch to virtually an inch thick. The pad provides cushioning and provides your carpet that snug, gentle feel when you walk on it.

Commercial carpet in offices and suppliers generally won’t have pad beneath it.

Carpet pad absorbs h2o like a sponge: The trouble with pad under a carpet is that it is a sponge and can hold quite a few moments it is own body weight in water.

Pad is created to cushion your toes, so it is spongy by mother nature and will soak up h2o like the cleaning sponge in your kitchen area sink.

Carpet would not halt or keep a lot drinking water:

Whilst your carpet may well experience pretty stable below your toes, it presents pretty minimal resistance to h2o passing via it.

Carpet is truly like a sieve to water. A standard carpet will not hold a lot more than a couple of ounces of drinking water per square foot of carpet ahead of it is saturated. Right after these original several ounces of drinking water have entered the carpet, any more h2o filters straight via the carpet and into the pad.

Water likes to travel:H2o isn’t going to continue to be place, it is normally on the move. The rule to try to remember is “Moist goes to Dry”. Drinking water will instantly go toward a dry creating materials.

Water at the centre of a area will movement by way of the carpet and across the pad to the walls. It will migrate to the edges of the place in a subject of minutes or hrs depending on how much h2o was spilled.

When you touch the carpet at the edge of the home, it might not even feel moist, but the pad could be saturated. This can be seen using an infrared camera. An infrared (or Thermal Imaging) digital camera is useful in obtaining the real location that the water has harmed, even if you can’t see or truly feel it.

In typical I would say that the genuine soaked region in any flood (found with expert h2o destruction meters) is about two times the dimensions of what the property owner experiences.

An infrared digicam will exhibit how drinking water travels under the carpet as a result of the pad. Even in a ‘small’ flood, h2o can migrate by way of walls and end up 2 rooms away within 12 hrs.

Bearing the information and facts earlier mentioned in thoughts, listed here are some prevalent myths about damp carpets and how to dry damp carpets

Myth #1. The carpet will dry by alone

This is truly accurate, just like it is accurate that you could get the lottery with one ticket.

Yes, the carpet will at some point dry by by itself. Nonetheless, will it odor lousy or have mold on it by the time it is dry? What other destruction will come about while the carpet dries by by itself?

Unless you reside in someplace like Arizona or the desert in which you have high temperature and small humidity, there is Very minimal chance that the carpet and pad will dry ahead of mildew commences expanding or bacteria commence producing that wet carpet, damp smell. Generally you have about 72 hrs to dry wet constructing resources prior to they start escalating mold.

Even if the carpet alone dries, does that signify the pad is dry? There is incredibly minor possibility that the pad is dry. The pad holds far more moisture than carpet and is prevented from easily releasing the dampness thanks to the carpet above it and the sub-flooring down below it. So even if your carpet is dry, the pad is possibly not dry.

Which delivers us to yet another stage. What about the damp sub-flooring? Try to remember that carpet is like a sieve, and the carpet will move water down to the pad extremely rapidly. A saturated pad can then release h2o into the sub-flooring.

Drying Sub-floors

Sub-flooring are typically both wooden or concrete.

Concrete sub flooring are sponges much too, other than they are really gradual sponges. They soak up h2o incredibly quickly, but release it very bit by bit. So even if the carpet and pad are dried promptly, the concrete sub-floor could even now release dampness for weeks.

Wooden sub-floors hold h2o far too. If they are manufactured of chip-board/particle board/press-board (little chips of wood held alongside one another with glue) and they are soaked for extra than a few hours they take up drinking water, extend, and reduce their structural integrity.

When wet particle board dries it has pretty much no toughness and you will discover on your own stepping by means of your floor if you’re not thorough.

Plywood or OSB (Oriented Strand Board) are considerably additional hardy decisions for a sub-floor than particle board. If they get soaked, you can dry them, as extensive as they have not been sitting down damp for prolonged enough to warp. This falls loosely underneath the 72 hour rule. A different worry is dry rot which is a bacterial deterioration that usually takes 21 days to manifest at reduced dampness ranges.

Pinpointing regardless of whether the sub-ground is damp or not can only reliably be completed with a penetrating humidity meter. Distinct building products have various appropriate levels of dampness, so you use the meter to inform you if the material is acceptably dry or not.

Dependent on the location you dwell in, plywood is dry at all over 20% Equivalent Humidity Content material (EMC). In as very little as 4 times, mildew can begin developing on moist plywood if not dried appropriately.

So, we know that the carpet and pad are unlikely to dry rapidly ample by themselves. But even if they did, is that all you have to issue your self with when your carpets are moist? No, it is not.

Like I reported, Damp goes to DRY. What this suggests is the drinking water retains spreading outwards from the resource.

On just one flooded carpet work we did, the carpet first obtained damp about 12 hours before we arrived. In the course of that time the home operator made use of her moist vac to suck up as much water as probable from the soaked carpet – about 100 gallons.

She just wished us to dry her carpets. However, applying the infrared digicam and dampness meters, we uncovered that her walls had been wet, in some sites to nearly 12″ higher than the carpet.

Moist drywall, is that a trouble?

The trouble with soaked drywall is the standard 72 hour problem.

In as very little as 72 several hours mould can get started increasing on that wet dry wall. Mildew specially likes darkish, warm areas with no airflow. That describes the wall cavity – the fantastic put for mold to develop.

So that is the challenge – wet carpet makes soaked drywall which can produce mold. Down below is a picture of a wall following water experienced been standing for a extended time.

To summarize. Certainly, the carpet will finally dry by alone. But you can expect to more than probable have mildew and smells by the time it is dry, and then you will be ripping walls and carpet out to repair the trouble

Myth #2. You have to eliminate the damp pad beneath your carpet

There is a myth that you can’t take away water from a damp pad, even with commercial extraction tools. People who say this are speaking about the typical carpet cleansing ‘wand’ revealed on the ideal. It is what is commonly used to clean carpets. It sprays incredibly hot h2o onto the carpet and then sucks it back again up once more.

The wand is built to pull water out of the carpet fibers, not the pad and it does a superior work at that. So if you have drinking water destruction on commercial carpet without having a pad, the wand is a fantastic instrument to use.

Nonetheless, on household carpet with a pad, it extracts pretty much none of the h2o from the pad.

So how do you get h2o out of the pad so you do not have to eliminate and discard the pad?

There are a amount of new professional extraction tools that will get rid of h2o from the pad. Our favorite is the FlashXtractor. It is a great piece of machines, possibly my favourite device. (We have no affiliation with the makers of this instrument, and receive no compensation for mentioning it)

The FlashXtractor will pull buckets of h2o out a carpet that has been wand extracted to dying!

Before instruments like the FlashXtractor came out, there was a technique called “floating the carpet” which was utilized to dry carpet and pad because of to the poor position the wand did of extracting water from the pad.

To float a carpet, you pull up a corner of the carpet and adhere an air mover or carpet supporter underneath the carpet to blow air less than the carpet and onto the pad. Whilst this process continue to works it is slower, less helpful, and frequently stretches the carpet so that it isn’t going to in good shape thoroughly when restretched.

Floating the carpet is an old faculty approach that is pointless if you have the correct applications, ie a deep extraction instrument these as the FlashXtractor.

To complicate matters, bear this in head. When you can dry damp pad, it doesn’t often necessarily mean you ought to.

If you have contaminated h2o in the pad you can dry it, but you will be leaving at least some contamination in the pad and around time, it will start out to stink and rot. In contaminated water situations you will have to remove the pad simply because you won’t be able to effectively decontaminate it even though it is underneath the carpet. In the drinking water restoration market, contaminated drinking water is known as Classification 2 (grey drinking water) or Classification 3 (black h2o).

Fantasy #3. You can’t dry a moist pad below a carpet

The truth to this myth is the exact as for the question higher than. Basically, you can dry a wet pad, even devoid of floating that carpet, but that will not mean you usually need to. See the answer previously mentioned for information.

Fantasy #4. You have to lift the carpet and ‘float’ it utilizing blowers

The respond to to this question is in the response to dilemma 2 earlier mentioned. To summarize, you never have to float carpet if you have a deep extraction tool and know how to use it.

Fantasy #5. You have to take away and discard moist carpet.


If you have a black water circumstance (Classification 3 h2o – contaminated water these types of as sewage, bathroom leak or growing floor h2o), according to the marketplace standard IICRC S500, you have to discard the carpet. I imagine this is due to the fact there is no EPA registered disinfectant for carpet.

Nonetheless, if you have Class 2 drinking water (gray drinking water these types of as washing equipment squander drinking water, shower runoff,etcetera) you have to discard the pad, but you can clear the carpet and hold it.

Class 1 drinking water (clear drinking water – bathroom provide line, fridge ice maker, and so on), and it hasn’t been sitting down for more than 48 several hours, then you can extract the water and keep the carpet and pad.

The other motive drinking water destruction restoration specialists occasionally believe they must discard wet carpet is mainly because the backing of the carpet will de-laminate when it is dried. The backing is the lattice webbing on the back of the carpet that retains the carpet fibers collectively. It is glued on. If it receives moist and stays wet for a prolonged time it can independent from the carpet fibers and begin to disintegrate.

How prolonged is a extensive time? It is really challenging to predict – is dependent on the carpet, the temperature, how wet it was, etc. Generally by the time the carpet de-laminates you’ve got received a black drinking water problem in any case, so the carpet has to go.

Myth #6. Skilled Carpet Cleansing will dry your carpet and pad

No. Not unless of course they use a deep extraction instrument that is made precisely to eliminate h2o from the pad. A standard carpet cleansing wand will not get rid of sizeable drinking water from the carpet pad.

Myth #7. To take away the soaked carpet scent, you ought to have it skillfully cleaned.

Certainly, with a ‘mostly’ hooked up to it. The carpet cleaning devices and approaches readily available to most household owners usually are not quite effective. Compared to industrial carpet cleansing gear, the carpet cleaning machines you lease from the regional supermarket are like a moped is to a Harley. They’re the very same factor, but not actually.

Acquiring everything other than a light smell out of a carpet requires the high force and suction of a professional device. It also involves the experience of a skilled and seasoned carpet cleaner. There are several results in and answers to various smells in a carpet and being aware of what to do and when to it requires schooling and encounter.

If baking soda and vacuuming don’t perform, your most effective wager is to get in touch with an skilled and professional carpet cleaner, preferably a single that is also an IICRC licensed Odor Management Technician.

Myth #8. If you dry a flooded carpet, you will not get a moldy wet carpet scent

Is dependent. If a carpet is dried rapidly and appropriately there will be no smell. In point, if anything at all, there will be significantly less smell mainly because the carpet has correctly been cleaned.

If the carpet and pad are not dried speedily and adequately you will probably have a problem with lingering musky smells and mildew.

See fantasy #2 for far more facts.

Fantasy #9. You have to use a truck mount carpet extractor to dry or clear a carpet correctly

False. This is an ongoing debate that I do not think will ever be resolved entirely. Portable carpet cleaning machines have the advantage of short hose operates even though truck mounts have the gain of high energy.

What it arrives down to is seriously the technician holding the wand. A good technician on a negative equipment will get a greater final result than a poor technician on a excellent machine.


If you’ve got had additional than a few gallons of drinking water spilled on your carpet, you’re far better off contacting a experienced drinking water problems enterprise to thoroughly dry your household if you can afford to pay for it, or if you have insurance policies. As you leaned earlier mentioned, the difficulty is that if the carpets and walls aren’t dried swiftly you could encounter a mildew circumstance which is substantially extra costly to correct than drying the carpets.

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