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9 Wet Carpet Cleaning Myths

Water has broken your carpets. Possibly you had a bathroom leak, perhaps your water heater burst, perhaps your child left the bibcock working within the sink for hours.

What do you have to do to dry your moist carpet to reduce harm to your carpet and pad?

To begin with, there’s some basic details about carpets it is best to know that applies to all of the myths .

Basic Details about Water and Carpets

Residential carpet normally has a pad beneath it. The pad might be wherever from 1/4 inch to virtually an inch thick. The pad supplies cushioning and provides your carpet that snug, comfortable really feel while you stroll on it.

Industrial carpet in places of work and shops usually would not have pad beneath it.

Carpet pad absorbs water like a sponge: The issue with pad underneath a carpet is that it’s a sponge and may maintain many occasions it is personal weight in water.

Pad is designed to cushion your toes, so it’s spongy by nature and can take in water just like the cleansing sponge in your kitchen sink.

Carpet would not cease or maintain a lot water:

Though your carpet could really feel very stable underneath your toes, it provides little or no resistance to water passing by it.

Carpet is definitely like a sieve to water. A typical carpet won’t maintain various ounces of water per sq. foot of carpet earlier than it’s saturated. After these preliminary few ounces of water have entered the carpet, any additional water filters straight by the carpet and into the pad.

Water likes to journey:Water would not keep put, it’s at all times on the transfer. The rule to recollect is “Moist goes to Dry”. Water will robotically transfer in direction of a dry constructing materials.

Water on the heart of a room will movement by the carpet and throughout the pad to the partitions. It should migrate to the sides of the room in a matter of minutes or hours relying on how a lot water was spilled.

Once you contact the carpet on the fringe of the room, it could not even really feel damp, however the pad may very well be saturated. This may be seen utilizing an infrared digicam. An infrared (or Thermal Imaging) digicam is beneficial find the actual space that the water has broken, even if you cannot see or really feel it.

Normally I’d say that the precise moist space in any flood (discovered with skilled water harm meters) is about twice the dimensions of what the house proprietor studies.

An infrared digicam will present how water travels underneath the carpet by the pad. Even in a ‘small’ flood, water can migrate by partitions and find yourself 2 rooms away inside 12 hours.

Bearing the data above in thoughts, listed here are some widespread myths about moist carpets and how one can dry moist carpets

Fable #1. The carpet will dry by itself

That is truly true, similar to it’s true that you can win the lottery with one ticket.

Sure, the carpet will ultimately dry by itself. Nevertheless, will it scent unhealthy or have mould on it by the point it’s dry? What different harm will happen whereas the carpet dries by itself?

Except you reside in someplace like Arizona or the desert the place you have got excessive temperature and low humidity, there’s VERY little likelihood that the carpet and pad will dry earlier than mould begins rising or micro organism begin creating that moist carpet, damp scent. Usually you have got about 72 hours to dry moist constructing supplies earlier than they begin rising mould.

Even when the carpet itself dries, does that imply the pad is dry? There’s little or no likelihood that the pad is dry. The pad holds extra moisture than carpet and is prevented from simply releasing the moisture because of the carpet above it and the sub-floor under it. So even when your carpet is dry, the pad might be not dry.

Which brings us to a different level. What in regards to the moist sub-floor? Do not forget that carpet is sort of a sieve, and the carpet will move water all the way down to the pad in a short time. A saturated pad can then launch water into the sub-floor.

Drying Sub-floors

Sub-floors are normally both wooden or concrete.

Concrete sub flooring are sponges too, besides they’re very gradual sponges. They take in water surprisingly shortly, however launch it very slowly. So even when the carpet and pad are dried shortly, the concrete sub-floor might nonetheless launch moisture for weeks.

Wooden sub-floors maintain water too. In the event that they’re manufactured from chip-board/particle board/press-board (small chips of wooden held along with glue) and they’re moist for various hours they take in water, develop, and lose their structural integrity.

When moist particle board dries it has virtually no power and you will see that your self stepping by your flooring in case you’re not cautious.

Plywood or OSB (Oriented Strand Board) are far more hardy decisions for a sub-floor than particle board. In the event that they get moist, you’ll be able to dry them, so long as they have not been sitting moist for lengthy sufficient to warp. This falls loosely underneath the 72 hour rule. One other concern is dry rot which is a bacterial deterioration that takes 21 days to manifest at decrease moisture ranges.

Figuring out whether or not the sub-floor is moist or not can solely reliably be finished with a penetrating moisture meter. Totally different constructing supplies have totally different acceptable ranges of moisture, so you utilize the meter to inform you if the fabric is acceptably dry or not.

Relying on the area you reside in, plywood is dry at round 20% Equal Moisture Content material (EMC). In as little as 4 days, mould can begin rising on moist plywood if not dried accurately.

So, we all know that the carpet and pad are unlikely to dry shortly sufficient by themselves. However even when they did, is that every one it’s a must to concern your self with when your carpets are moist? No, it is not.

Like I mentioned, WET goes to DRY. What this implies is the water retains spreading outwards from the supply.

On one flooded carpet job we did, the carpet first acquired moist about 12 hours earlier than we arrived. Throughout that point the house proprietor used her moist vac to suck up as a lot water as potential from the moist carpet – about 100 gallons.

She simply wished us to dry her carpets. Nevertheless, utilizing the infrared digicam and moisture meters, we discovered that her partitions had been moist, in some locations to virtually 12″ above the carpet.

Moist drywall, is that an issue?

The issue with moist drywall is the standard 72 hour drawback.

In as little as 72 hours mould can begin rising on that moist dry wall. Mildew particularly likes darkish, heat locations with no airflow. That describes the wall cavity – the proper place for mould to develop.

In order that’s the issue – moist carpet creates moist drywall which might create mould. Beneath is an image of a wall after water had been standing for a very long time.

To summarize. Sure, the carpet will ultimately dry by itself. However you may greater than probably have mould and smells by the point it’s dry, and then you definitely’ll be ripping partitions and carpet out to repair the issue

Fable #2. It’s important to take away the moist pad beneath your carpet

There’s a delusion that you may’t take away water from a moist pad, even with business extraction gear. Individuals who say this are speaking about the usual carpet cleansing ‘wand’ proven on the correct. It’s what is usually used to wash carpets. It sprays sizzling water onto the carpet after which sucks it again up once more.

The wand is designed to drag water out of the carpet fibers, not the pad and it does a great job at that. So when you have water harm on business carpet and not using a pad, the wand is an efficient software to make use of.

Nevertheless, on residential carpet with a pad, it extracts virtually not one of the water from the pad.

So how do you get water out of the pad so you do not have to take away and discard the pad?

There are a variety of latest business extraction instruments that may take away water from the pad. Our favourite is the FlashXtractor. It’s a fantastic piece of kit, in all probability my favourite software. (We now have no affiliation with the makers of this software, and obtain no compensation for mentioning it)

The FlashXtractor will pull buckets of water out a carpet that has been wand extracted to dying!

Earlier than instruments just like the FlashXtractor got here out, there was a way known as “floating the carpet” which was used to dry carpet and pad because of the poor job the wand did of extracting water from the pad.

To drift a carpet, you pull up a nook of the carpet and stick an air mover or carpet fan underneath the carpet to blow air underneath the carpet and onto the pad. Whereas this methodology nonetheless works it’s slower, much less efficient, and sometimes stretches the carpet in order that it would not match correctly when restretched.

Floating the carpet is an old style approach that’s pointless when you have the correct instruments, ie a deep extraction software such because the FlashXtractor.

To complicate issues, bear this in thoughts. When you can dry moist pad, it would not at all times imply it is best to.

When you have contaminated water within the pad you’ll be able to dry it, however you’ll be leaving no less than some contamination within the pad and over time, it’s going to begin to stink and decay. In contaminated water conditions you’ll have to take away the pad as a result of you’ll be able to’t successfully decontaminate it whereas it’s beneath the carpet. Within the water restoration trade, contaminated water is named Class 2 (grey water) or Class 3 (black water).

Fable #3. You possibly can’t dry a moist pad underneath a carpet

The reality to this delusion is identical as for the query above. Mainly, you’ll be able to dry a moist pad, even with out floating that carpet, however that does not imply you at all times ought to. See the reply above for particulars.

Fable #4. It’s important to raise the carpet and ‘float’ it utilizing blowers

The reply to this query is within the reply to query 2 above. To summarize, you do not have to drift carpet when you have a deep extraction software and know how one can use it.

Fable #5. It’s important to take away and discard moist carpet.


When you have a black water state of affairs (Class 3 water – contaminated water equivalent to sewage, rest room leak or rising floor water), based on the trade customary IICRC S500, it’s a must to discard the carpet. I imagine it’s because there isn’t any EPA registered disinfectant for carpet.

Nevertheless, when you have Class 2 water (grey water equivalent to washer waste water, bathe runoff,and many others) it’s a must to discard the pad, however you’ll be able to clear the carpet and maintain it.

Class 1 water (clear water – rest room provide line, fridge ice maker, and many others), and it hasn’t been sitting for greater than 48 hours, then you’ll be able to extract the water and maintain the carpet and pad.

The opposite cause water harm restoration technicians generally imagine they need to discard moist carpet is as a result of the backing of the carpet will de-laminate when it’s dried. The backing is the lattice webbing on the again of the carpet that holds the carpet fibers collectively. It’s glued on. If it will get moist and stays moist for a very long time it could possibly separate from the carpet fibers and begin to disintegrate.

How lengthy is a very long time? It is laborious to foretell – is determined by the carpet, the temperature, how moist it was, and many others. Usually by the point the carpet de-laminates you’ve got acquired a black water state of affairs anyway, so the carpet has to go.

Fable #6. Skilled Carpet Cleansing will dry your carpet and pad

No. Not until they use a deep extraction software that’s designed particularly to take away water from the pad. A daily carpet cleansing wand won’t take away vital water from the carpet pad.

Fable #7. To take away the moist carpet scent, it is best to have it professionally cleaned.

Sure, with a ‘largely’ connected to it. The carpet cleansing machines and strategies out there to most house house owners aren’t very efficient. In comparison with business carpet cleansing gear, the carpet cleansing machines you lease from the native grocery store are like a moped is to a Harley. They’re the identical factor, however not likely.

Getting something apart from a lightweight scent out of a carpet requires the excessive stress and suction of a business machine. It additionally requires the experience of a skilled and skilled carpet cleaner. There are various causes and options to totally different smells in a carpet and understanding what to do and when to it requires coaching and expertise.

If baking soda and vacuuming do not work, your finest wager is to name an skilled and skilled carpet cleaner, ideally one which can also be an IICRC licensed Odor Management Technician.

Fable #8. In case you dry a flooded carpet, you’ll not get a moldy moist carpet scent

Relies upon. If a carpet is dried shortly and correctly there might be no scent. Actually, if something, there might be much less scent as a result of the carpet has successfully been cleaned.

If the carpet and pad will not be dried shortly and correctly you’ll in all probability have an issue with lingering musky smells and mould.

See delusion #2 for extra particulars.

Fable #9. It’s important to use a truck mount carpet extractor to dry or clear a carpet correctly

False. That is an ongoing debate that I do not assume will ever be resolved fully. Moveable carpet cleansing machines have the benefit of quick hose runs whereas truck mounts have the benefit of excessive energy.

What it comes all the way down to is de facto the technician holding the wand. A superb technician on a nasty machine will get a greater end result than a nasty technician on a great machine.


In case you’ve had various gallons of water spilled in your carpet, you are higher off calling knowledgeable water harm firm to correctly dry your own home in case you can afford it, or when you have insurance coverage. As you leaned above, the issue is that if the carpets and partitions aren’t dried shortly you can face a mould state of affairs which is far more costly to repair than drying the carpets.

by Paul W Drayton

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