If you have ever experienced water damage, then you know how important it is to act fast when water leaks happen.
When water gets onto your carpet, it can soak into the padding underneath. If you do not act fast enough, mold can start growing, ruining it and possibly affecting your health.
To prevent mold growth, according to the CDC, “Clean up and dry out your home fully and quickly (within 24–48 hours) after a flood.”
That is why drying wet carpet immediately is crucial for preventing any further damage from occurring because mold spores are everywhere. They live in the air, on dust particles, and on surfaces like carpeting.
All they need to start growing is food like dust and skin dander, which is abundant in our homes and moisture (humidity or water).
When water is introduced, the spores can quickly start growing, which may require professional remediation services for removal because it can not only ruin it, mold can cause allergic reactions and respiratory problems in people who are sensitive to it.
It also can cause further damage to building materials underneath, such as wood and concrete.
So now you’ve got a wet carpet on your hands. It happens.
Maybe it was due to a flood, or maybe it was just from a small leaky pipe.
Either way, you need to dry it out as soon as possible.
It will take time and patience, but if you follow these 10 steps, it should be dry in no time.
1. Stop the source of the water leak and shut off the water supply to your home
The first thing you need to do is find the source of the leak and stop it. You can call a plumber ASAP as well.
If you cannot fix the leak, shut off the water supply to your home.
2. Remove excess water from the carpet
Vacuum up as much water as possible before it dries with a wet/dry vacuum — this will help speed up the drying process considerably.
If you don’t have a shop vac handy or can’t access the leak right away, grab a towel or two and start soaking up as much water as possible by pressing down on the area with heavy books or other items until all of the liquid has been absorbed into the towel(s).
3. Move all furniture from the room if possible
Remove furniture from the room, if possible, and place it on top of other rugs or towels in an adjacent room or hallway.
4. Dry with fans
Get as much air circulating in the room as possible by opening windows or turning on fans, ideally at floor level. Lift up your carpet and pad from the tack strip using plyers so you can get the fans underneath the area.
This helps it dry properly and much quicker while also preventing mold growth if it has happened already.
If you have access to an electric dehumidifier, place it in the room with your wet carpet and leave it running 24 hours a day until it’s completely dry. Dehumidifiers draw moisture out of the air and reduce humidity levels in rooms by up to 70 percent.
If you can not get a dehumidifier, run an electric heater in the room for several hours, but be sure not to set the source too close to carpeting or bedding materials, which can cause them to smolder and burn or even catch fire.
6. Spray antimicrobial
You should also spray the carpet and padding with a good antimicrobial spray to prevent mold growth. This will help ensure along with the drying methods listed to kill and stop mold from growing.
7. Remove moldy carpeting
If there is mold growing in your carpeting, it should be removed immediately to prevent further damage and health risks associated with breathing in mold spores, such as asthma attacks and severe allergic reactions like hay fever and poison ivy rash.
Mold removal requires professional expertise—it’s not something you want to try yourself unless you’re experienced with removing it from hard surfaces like wood floors or concrete walls (see below).
In most cases, you’ll want to call in a professional restoration company that specializes in water damage restoration services.
8. Leave room closed
Leave the room sealed for at least 24-72 hours or longer. This will help ensure that all moisture is removed from the carpet and padding by keeping the room extra dry.
9. Put your carpet back down
Once it is dry and as long as it’s still in good shape, you may be able to re-install it yourself. Sometimes the carpet will shrink and it will need special tools or a professional to reinstall the carpet.
10. Professional cleaning
It is also a good idea to have the carpet professionally cleaned by a company that uses a dry cleaning method.
I do not recommend steam cleaning with truck mounts and portable cleaners. These machines leave the carpet wet for 48-72 hours and can cause mold growth.
Mold Safe Inspections Conclusion
If you have water-damaged carpet that hasn’t been dried properly, it’s important to take the steps listed above to prevent mold from growing in your home.
Also, if you would like to hire a professional to handle this work for you to make sure it is done right, please contact me 24/7 at 760-818-6830.
My team can take care of the damage and repairs all across San Diego, Orange, and Riverside Counties. I also offer professional consultations for $100 per hour.
Moe Bedard is the founder of Mold Safe Inspections and manager at Mold Safe Solutions. A full-service Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) company specializing in property water damage, mold inspections, consultations, and mold remediation.
If you need help with a project, please call 760-818-6830.