Proper Carpet Cleaning after Flooding

Flooding can be a big disaster for many house owners and their families, causing irreparable damage to the home. Floodwater can ruin carpets, destroy the foundation, and if caused by a sewer backup, create a toxic biohazard which makes it especially tricky to clean. This can leave a less than professional appeal to the resale value of your home for many years to come, and if not dealt with properly – forever.

Restoration for water damage may require the help of professionals as the potential for mold begins when the water is left to stagnate. Although this can render carpets ruined and in need of complete replacement, there are still a few steps for cleaning that you can take on your own.

Flood Carpet Cleaning

Even a small amount of water dripping into your home is reason to be concerned. It doesn’t take much water or time for mold growth to start developing. The sooner you start on the flood cleanup, the better your chances of avoiding mold or other additional water damage to your carpet.

1. Be Prepared

What’s that age old saying – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Sometimes you can’t avoid it, but any preparation you can do prior will minimize the headache afterwards. Flood damage is not fun to deal with given the fact water gets into everything. Consulting something like this home flood safety guide will help you be ready in the event of disaster.

2. Remove Water as Soon as Possible

Use a wet/dry vacuum (something like a Shop Vac) to soak up as much water as you can. These tools can be rented or provided for use by water damage mitigation companies who specialize in these types of jobs.

3. Use Fans to Speed Up Drying

Drying fans (sometimes called air movers) help accelerate the drying of your carpets after a flooding incident. It is possible that it takes several days before fans are able to completely dry a water-logged area. Best practice is to keep the fans blowing 24 hours a day for at least a week because although you may think they are dry on the inside, it is more than likely not. If possible, lift the carpet and ventilate underneath for a thorough drying of both sides of carpet.

4. Steam Cleaning

During the restoration process, you may decide to use a professional strength carpet steam cleaner to destroy microbes from the carpet fiber. Steam cleaning with an anti-microbial carpet cleaning solution will help to sanitize and deodorize the carpet. This can help save the carpet, requiring only the water-damaged padding under the carpet to be replaced.

If the price of steam cleaning is too steep, then you can also shampoo the carpet. You will have to repeat the drying process immediately following the shampooing procedure. In order to reduce the musty smell, sprinkle some baking soda over the carpet, working it in with a broom or sponge mop. Leave it on overnight and vacuum the baking soda out in the morning.

Another option is encapsulation carpet cleaning. This is a low moisture method that traps dirt and microbes within crystals, which are then vacuumed up. However, this requires a thin carpet. If the pile is too high, encapsulation may not be successful given the damage caused by flooding.

5. Dehumidify

A Dehumidifier will remove excessive moisture allowing the air to feel cooler. This will also limit mold growth. The dry air will speed up the recovery and drying time of your damaged floors and carpets.

6. Get New Carpets

Depending on the damage, you might be out of luck and will need new carpet. This is true if the carpet has been consumed by toxic materials and residual waste. Padding is nearly impossible to clean, and should therefore be replaced.

If the carpet has been submerged for over 24 hours, then it may be time for a little “out with the old, in with the new” treatment. No reason to risk getting your family sick.

7. Check the Furniture for Damage

Remove all furniture from the wet flooring. Check each part of the furniture for any water damage and wipe down all surfaces. Ensure that the furniture itself, as well as the flooring, are completely dry before returning it to its original place. It’s possible that the furniture has been damaged to the point of needing replacement.

8. Check for Mold

There will be some ongoing care once the carpet has been cleaned and dried It now becomes essential to check for mold and mildew periodically. Mold thrives on moisture, so leave the dehumidifier running for a few months following the flood. This can help keep residual moisture low inside the home and therefore minimizing the possibility of mold growth and spread.

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