Most homeowners will deal with water issues at least a few times over the years. Plumbing leaks, roof damage and flooding from a severe storm are only some of the situations that could result in water streaming into your home and pooling on the floor. While you may be inclined to simply be patient and let the water dry out of your carpet, this can have devastating consequences. Understanding how to dry wet carpet as soon as possible will help you to avoid extensive property damage and expensive repairs.
Why You Need to Know How to Dry Wet Carpet Quickly
One of the many reasons why you may love carpet in your home is because of its plush texture. The thick, soft fibers in carpet feel comfortable under your feet, but these fibers are also highly absorbent. Water will quickly seep into the carpet. It will saturate the fibers and soak into the padding and tack strips. The combination of thick, soaked carpeting over saturated padding and tack strips creates a situation where moisture can become trapped. Even when the top layer of carpeting appears to be dry, trapped moisture may still be in the tack strips and padding. In severe situations, the moisture may have penetrated to the subfloor.
The chance of staining and mold or mildew growth on or underneath the carpet increases when the materials remain moist for more than a few hours. Mold and mildew can create a musty, unpleasant odor. It can cause serious property damage that may be expensive to repair, and exposure to mold could cause mild to severe health problems for everyone in the home.
The subfloor material can also rot, which can result in weakening and severe structural damage in some cases. Generally, standing water should be removed as soon as possible. More than that, you should take additional steps to completely dry out the carpeting, padding, tack strips and subfloor without delay to prevent serious water damage.
How to Dry Wet Carpet in Seven Steps
Depending on the size of the affected area, the drying out process could be extensive and time-consuming. However, this effort is essential in order to protect your home from unnecessary damage.
1. Remove as Much Water as Possible
The first step to take when you need to know how to dry wet carpet is to remove as much of the water as possible. For smaller wet spots, you may use a few thick towels to absorb the water. For larger affected areas, use a wet vacuum. If you do not own a wet vac, you may be able to rent one from a local store at a reasonable price.
2. Remove Furniture
Any furniture over or near the wet area should be relocated while you dry out the carpet. If the furniture has gotten wet, you should take additional steps to dry the furniture out after moving it to the garage, a tiled area or another safe area of the home. In some cases, wood and upholstered furniture may not be salvageable.
3. Circulate Air Will Dry Wet Carpet Faster
Carpeting and other wet materials will dry faster when air is moving rapidly throughout the room. If possible, open the windows to reduce indoor humidity. Turn on ceiling fans, and bring in box fans or other portable fans to increase airflow. If you own a dehumidifier, this should be used as well.
4. Invest in New Carpet Padding
Carpet padding is very difficult to dry out because of its unique composition. Thankfully, it is relatively affordable and easy to replace. Pull the carpet up off of the padding, and remove the padding. After the carpet is completely dry, install new padding. You also should assess the condition of the tack strips before laying the carpet back in place.
5. Professionally Clean the Carpet
In some cases, the carpet may have a musty smell even after it has completely dried out. This may be a sign that mold spores are beginning to grow in the area or other microscopic elements are present. Professional steam cleaning typically will kill these microscopic elements and will deodorize the carpet at the same time. Professional services are preferred over a do-it-yourself approach because commercial-grade equipment typically extracts more water during the cleaning process. This reduces the risk of mold growth.
6. Vacuum with Baking Soda
Baking soda is well-known for removing unpleasant odors. It also has absorbent properties. If you are concerned about lingering moisture or if you need to dry out a smaller wet spot quickly, sprinkling baking soda over the affected area is a great idea. Allow the powder to cover the wet or smelly area for at least 30 minutes. Then, vacuum the floor to remove the powder.
7. Focus on the Entire Room
If mold or mildew has had the opportunity to grow in the carpet, padding or subfloor, the spores may have traveled to other areas in the room. These spores can become airborne when they are disrupted, so your cleaning efforts may have spread the spores to other areas. Because of this, the entire room should be cleaned from top to bottom. You may also need to clean the air ducts and replace the air filters.
Water can easily result in serious property damage if it is allowed to seep into the carpet and padding. Use these steps to quickly remove the water and to reduce the risk of staining and mold or mildew growth.