A common misconception is that wet carpet should be left alone to dry on its own over time. However, what some may not realize is that mold and mildew grow and thrive in environments containing trapped moisture.

Drying wet carpet is best handled based on the amount of water in the carpet and the total wet square footage. Deciding how to dry a wet carpet should begin with understanding the scope of possible carpet and floor damage.

Whether it’s a spilled glass of water, leaky roof, full on flood, or a “I have no idea why that’s wet” situation, you must act quickly.

You will need some equipment, and the work can be exhausting, but the most important tool you need is your ability to suppress panic.

Volume and Area

A tipped bucket is not the same as an overflowing bathtub, which is not the same as a flood.

Wet carpet in a relatively small area – say the size of a dish towel, requires quick attention, but a minimum of room disruption.

Wet carpet in a larger area – say a bedroom or a hallway – means pulling up the carpet to expose the padding and much more.

For substantial areas, call in the professionals from San Diego’s premier water damage restoration company, Certified Restoration.

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For a small area follow the steps below:

Extract Moisture

  • Use a shop vac that can handle dry and wet messes or a wet vacuum. Shove the hose attachment deep into the carpet to attain as much suction as possible.  
  • After vacuuming up as much water as possible with the shop vac, lay down towels and walk on them (your weight will wick the water into the towels). Replace towels once they are saturated and keep going until your towels come up dry.
  • Use baking soda to lift and remove trapped moisture. It is as easy as pouring it on liberally, let it sit for half an hour, then vacuum it up.

drying carpet

Generate Airflow

  • Gather all your fans and crank them on high for at least 24 hours straight.
  • Use a portable heater and box fan together. Tip the box fan forward to blow hot air from the heater directly onto the wet area. Keep this duo running long after the surface of the carpet feels dry as the carpet pad beneath is still damp, and that water needs to evaporate too.
  • If it is dry outside, open windows and doors.

For medium volume and area, do everything above but also:

Rent the Right Tools

  • If your shop vac or wet vacuum is not doing the job, consider renting a commercial water extractor or carpet cleaning machine.

Replace Carpet Padding

  • Pull back the carpet to expose the pad.

The best practice is to REPLACE THE PAD as there is too much risk for mold when leaving trapped moisture under your carpet. If that is not an option, you can work to dry the carpet pad using the steps described in “extract moisture” and “generate air flow”

Attack Mold & Mildew

  • Double check that all furniture, baseboards and areas surrounding the wet carpet are also dry. Scrub down everything that got wet with a mold removal spray.
  • Steam clean your carpet to remove any leftover toxins.  
  • Consider installing one or more dehumidifiers to extract all the remaining trapped water by lowering the relative humidity for the room or area.
  • Purchase an inexpensive moisture meter at your local hardware store to detect excess moisture in your home. Note that in order to prevent extended water damage and mold from growing overtime, you must know the exact location and source of water intrusion.

Why not call the Professionals?

When drying wet carpet, speed is essential to prevent dangerous molds from developing. If you smell mildew or see mold, you will probably need to replace both the carpet and pad.

For any wet carpet larger than those areas described above, contact Certified Restoration Inc. We have the specialized tools to immediately extract up to 90 percent of the water from carpets and pads, and dehumidifiers to prevent black mold and mildew from growing.

Contact Certified Restoration today.

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