The water has damaged your carpet. Maybe your toilet is leaking, maybe your water heater has burst, maybe your child left the faucet in the sink for a few hours.

How should you dry the wet carpet to minimize damage to the carpet and cushions?

First, you should know some general information about carpets that apply to all myths.

General information about water and carpet

There is usually a cushion under the residential carpet. The pad can be anywhere from 1/4 inch to almost 1 inch thick. The cushion provides cushioning, allowing you to feel comfortable and soft when walking on the carpet.

There are usually no cushions under commercial carpets in offices and shops.

The carpet pad absorbs water like a sponge: The problem with the carpet pad is that it is a sponge that can hold several times its own weight in water.

The pad is designed to cushion your feet, so it is spongy in nature and will absorb water like a cleaning sponge in a kitchen sink.

The carpet will not stop or hold a lot of water:

Although your carpet feels very strong under your feet, it has little resistance to water passing through.

The carpet is actually like a sieve for watering. A typical carpet will not contain more than a few ounces of water per square foot before saturation. After the first few ounces of water enter the carpet, any further water will filter directly through the carpet into the mat.

Water likes to travel:The water does not stay in place, it is always moving. The rule to remember is “wet to dry”. The water will automatically flow to the dry building materials.

The water in the center of the room will flow through the carpet and through the cushion to the wall. Depending on the amount of water spilled, it will migrate to the edge of the room within minutes or hours.

When you touch the carpet on the edge of the room, it may not even feel wet, but the mat may be saturated. This can be seen using an infrared camera. An infrared (or thermal imaging) camera can be used to find the real area of ​​water damage, even if you cannot see or feel it.

Generally speaking, I would say that the actual wet area in any flood (discovered with a professional water loss gauge) is approximately twice the area reported by the homeowner.

The infrared camera will show how the water passes through the mat under the carpet. Even in a “small” flood, water can pass through the wall and reach 2 rooms within 12 hours.

Keeping the above information in mind, here are some common misconceptions about wet carpets and how to dry wet carpets

Myth #1.The carpet will dry out on its own

This is actually correct, just like you can win a lottery with a lottery.

Yes, the carpet will eventually dry out on its own. However, when it dries, does it smell bad or have mold? What other damage can happen when the carpet dries on its own?

Unless you live in a place with high temperature and low humidity like Arizona or the desert, there is little chance that carpets and mats will dry before mold starts to grow or bacteria start to produce wet carpets and damp smells. Normally, you have about 72 hours to dry the damp building materials before they start to grow mold.

Even if the carpet itself is dry, does this mean that the mat is dry? There is little chance that the pad will dry out. The mat has more moisture than the carpet and prevents easy release of moisture due to the carpet above and the subfloor below. So even if your carpet is dry, the mat may not be dry.

This brings us to another point. What about damp subfloors? Remember, the carpet is like a sieve, the carpet will quickly pass water to the mat. The saturated mat can then release water into the subfloor.

Dry the subfloor

The subfloor is usually wood or concrete.

Concrete subfloors are also sponges, except they are very slow sponges. They absorb water surprisingly fast, but release it very slowly. Therefore, even if the carpets and mats dry out quickly, the concrete subfloor will still release moisture within a few weeks.

Wooden subfloors can also absorb water. If they are made of particleboard/particleboard/pressboard (small wood chips held together with glue) and they stay in a humid environment for more than a few hours, they will absorb water, swell and lose structural integrity.

When the wet particleboard is dry, it has almost no strength, and if you are not careful, you will find yourself stepping on the floor.

Plywood or oriented strand board (oriented strand board) is a more durable subfloor option than particle board. If they get wet, you can wipe them dry, as long as they have not been soaked long enough to warp. This is roughly the 72-hour rule. Another problem is dry rot, which is a bacterial deterioration that takes 21 days to show up at low moisture levels.

Determining whether the subfloor is wet can only be done reliably with a penetrating hygrometer. Different building materials have different acceptable humidity levels, so you can use the meter to determine whether the dryness of the material is acceptable.

Depending on where you live, plywood is dry at approximately 20% equivalent moisture content (EMC). In just 4 days, if it is not properly dried, mold will begin to grow on the damp plywood.

Therefore, we know that carpets and mats are unlikely to dry fast enough on their own. But even if they do, when your carpet gets wet, do you only need to worry about it? No, this is not right.

Like I said, WET becomes DRY. This means that water continues to spread out from the source.

In a flooded carpet job we did, the carpet got wet about 12 hours before we arrived. During that time, the homeowner used her wet vacuum cleaner to draw as much water as possible from the wet carpet-about 100 gallons.

She just wants us to dry her carpet. However, using an infrared camera and hygrometer, we found that her walls were wet, and some places were almost 12 inches above the carpet.

Wet drywall, is this a problem?

The problem with wet drywall is the usual 72-hour problem.

In just 72 hours, mold will begin to grow on the damp dry wall. Mold especially likes dark, warm places with no drafts. This describes the wall cavity-an ideal place for mold growth.

This is the problem-wet carpets will produce damp gypsum board, which will produce mold. The picture below is a wall picture after a long period of water accumulation.

in conclusion. Yes, the carpet will eventually dry out on its own.But when it dries, you are likely to have mold and odor, and then you will tear off the walls and carpets to solve this problem

Myth #2.You must remove the wet pad under the carpet

There is a saying that even with commercial extraction equipment, moisture cannot be removed from the wet pad. The person who said this was talking about the standard carpet cleaning “magic wand” shown on the right. This is a common method of cleaning carpets. It sprays hot water onto the carpet and then sucks it back again.

The wand is designed to absorb water from the carpet fibers, not the cushion, and it does a great job in this regard. Therefore, if you have water stains on a commercial carpet without a pad, the wand is a good tool to use.

However, on residential carpets with cushions, it hardly extracts any moisture from the cushions.

So how do you remove the water from the mat without having to remove and discard the mat?

There are many new commercial extraction tools that can remove water from the mat. Our favorite is FlashXtractor. This is a great device, probably my favorite tool. (We have no relationship with the manufacturer of this tool and will not receive any compensation for mentioning it)

FlashXtractor will pull the bucket from the carpet that was killed by the wand!

Before tools like FlashXtractor came out, there was a technique called “floating carpet”, which was used to dry carpets and cushions because the wand did a poor job of extracting water from the mat.

To float the carpet, you can pull up a corner of the carpet and place a blower or carpet fan under the carpet to blow air from under the carpet onto the mat. Although this method is still effective, it is slower and less effective, and the carpet is often stretched so that it cannot fit properly when re-stretched.

If you have the right tool, i.e. a deep extraction tool like FlashXtractor, the floating carpet is an old-school technique and it is unnecessary.

To complicate things, please keep this in mind. Although you can wipe the wet pad dry, this does not always mean you should.

If there is contaminated water in the pad, you can wipe it dry, but at least some contaminants will be left in the pad, which will start to smell and rot over time. In the case of contaminated water, you will have to remove the mat, because when it is under the carpet, you cannot effectively purify it. In the water remediation industry, contaminated water is called type 2 (gray water) or type 3 (black water).

Myth #3.You can’t wipe the wet pad under the carpet

The truth of this myth is the same as the above question. Basically, even if you don’t float the carpet, you can dry the wet pad, but that doesn’t mean you should always do it. See the answer above for details.

Myth #4.You have to lift the carpet and use the blower to “float” it

The answer to this question is in the answer to question 2 above. All in all, if you have a deep extraction tool and know how to use it, you don’t have to float the carpet.

Myth #5. You must remove and discard the wet carpet.


If you encounter a black water situation (category 3 water-contaminated water, such as sewage, toilet leaks, or rising groundwater), according to the industry standard IICRC S500, you must discard the carpet. I believe this is because there is no EPA registered carpet disinfectant.

However, if you have type 2 water (such as washing machine waste water, shower runoff, etc. gray water), you must discard the mat, but you can clean the carpet and keep it.

Type 1 water (purified water-toilet water supply line, refrigerator ice machine, etc.), and the time is not more than 48 hours, you can extract the water and keep the carpet and cushions.

Another reason water stain repair technicians sometimes think they should discard wet carpet is that the backing of the carpet will delaminate when it dries. The backing is the lattice webbing on the back of the carpet to hold the carpet fibers together. It sticks to it. If it gets wet and stays moist for a long time, it will separate from the carpet fibers and start to decompose.

How long is it? This is difficult to predict-it depends on the carpet, temperature, humidity, etc. Usually, when the carpet is layered, you will encounter black water anyway, so the carpet must be left.

Myth #6.Professional carpet cleaning will dry your carpets and mats

Do not. Unless they use a deep extraction tool designed to remove water from the mat. Ordinary carpet cleaning sticks will not remove large amounts of water from the carpet mat.

Myth #7. To remove the smell of wet carpets, you should perform professional cleaning.

Yes, with “main” attached. The carpet cleaning machines and methods available to most homeowners are not very effective. Compared with commercial carpet cleaning equipment, the carpet cleaning machine you rent in a local supermarket is like a moped to Harley. They are the same thing, but not true.

Removal of anything other than a slight smell from the carpet requires the high pressure and suction of a commercial machine. It also requires the expertise of well-trained and experienced carpet cleaners. There are many reasons and solutions for different smells in carpets, and knowing what to do and when to do it requires training and experience.

If the baking soda and the vacuum cleaner do not work, the best way is to hire a well-trained and experienced carpet cleaner, preferably an odor control technician certified by IICRC at the same time.

Myth #8.If you dry the soaked carpet, you will not smell the moldy wet carpet

It depends. If the carpet dries quickly and correctly, it will not smell. In fact, if any, the smell will be less, because the carpet has been effectively cleaned.

If carpets and cushions are not dried quickly and correctly, you may experience lingering musky odor and mold problems.

For more details, see Myth #2.

Myth #9.You must use a truck-mounted carpet extractor to properly dry or clean the carpet

Incorrect. This is an ongoing debate, and I think it will never be fully resolved. The advantages of the portable carpet cleaner are…

Source by Paul W Drayton

9 misunderstandings about wet carpet cleaning

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