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Can Carpeting and Rugs be Saved After a Flood?

By Luke Armstrong

When your home experiences a flood, there is a lot of damage you need to worry about. The building materials that make up your property’s structure absorb the excess water, which can make it unstable. But then there is also the damage to your personal content, including clothing and furnishings, that you need to attend to.

Your home’s carpeting and rugs are among the items that can sustain the most harm in a flood. Because they are on the ground, they are not only the first items that the flood will affected, but they can also sustain more damage. And though this can make saving carpeting and rugs more difficult, it is not impossible.

Any wet carpeting that was damaged by contaminated water should be thrown out

Saving Your Carpeting

In the event of a flood, your belongings—including wet carpeting and rugs—are salvagable. However, to do so, there are various factors that you need to consider.

Continue reading to learn more about flooding and the effect it has on your carpeting and rugs.

Flood Factors to Consider

The Source of the Floodwater

When determining whether your home’s carpeting and rugs can be salvaged, the first thing you must consider is the source of the floodwater. If the water came from a clean source, then your rugs and carpeting should be salvageable. However, if the water came from an unclean source, then your rugs and carpeting are likely unsalvageable.

The Contents of the Floodwater

While the water may have come from a clean source, this does not mean the water is still clean. Sewage and other contaminants may have mixed with the water. For example, rainwater is typically clean. But when it mixes with sewage, the water is now contaminated with whatever was mixed in with the sewage water. And now it has entered your home. From there, the hazardous materials contaminating the water can infect whatever materials and items with which it comes into contact.

So even when the floodwater has been extracted, your home remains dangerous because of these contaminated contents. Salvaging contaminated rugs and carpeting can be difficult and not always worth the time and money.

When to Throw Out Water-Damaged Carpeting and Rugs

Any wet carpeting and rugs that were damaged by sewage or other contaminated water should be thrown out. This is especially the case for any area rugs, rugs that have foam backing, and wall-to-wall carpeting. The only time contaminated rugs and carpeting are worth saving is when they are valuable.

Another instance where you will want to throw out rugs and carpeting is when they have been soaking in water for over 24 hours, regardless of the cleanliness of the water.

How to dry wet carpet
Professional cleaning will give carpeting the best chance at restoration

How to Salvage Water-Damaged Carpets and Rugs

Carpeting and Rugs Damaged by Contaminated Water

If you choose to try salvaging carpeting and rugs that have been harmed by contaminated water, then you will need to have a professional cleaning company handle them. This situation requires special equipment and techniques. Professional cleaning will give the rug or carpet the best chance at restoration.

Carpeting and Rugs Damaged by Clean Water

In general, you can clean any throw rugs using a washing machine. Otherwise, you may use shampoo or opt for professional cleaning. If you choose to clean area rugs with shampoo yourself, take them outside for cleaning. You do not want more moisture to accumulate in your home.

If you are going to salvage wet carpeting yourself, then take the time to dry it first. If you can remove the wet carpet, then do so to make the drying process easier and quicker. Otherwise, use a dehumidifier and wet/dry vacuum to speed up the drying process. You can also use electric fans and the air conditioner to aid with this.

Once the carpet is dry, vacuum it to remove dirt, dust, and other debris embedded into its fibers. Then, scrub the carpet with shampoo and conduct drying again. Lastly, vacuum it one last time when it is dry.

If you discover that a musty smell remains following cleaning, then you can use baking soda to eliminate the odor. Just pour some baking soda onto the carpeting. To get the baking soda deeper into the fibers, use a sponge mop or broom.

Let the baking soda sit overnight. Vacuum it up twice the next day, moving in a different direction each time. This will ensure that you pick up all the baking soda.

Professional Flood Damage Services

If you are going to try salvaging your water damaged carpet and rugs, then it is best to seek professional help from a water damage restoration and cleanup service. Professional technicians have advanced equipment and know the specialized techniques to conduct such work. This will give your rugs and carpeting the best chance of restoration.

Aside from cleaning your contents, professional technicians will extract water, dry your home, repair structural elements, locate and remove any mold, and disinfect your home.

With help from professional water damage restoration services, not only will your rugs and carpeting be clean and restored, but your home will be safe to return to and live in once again.