Water and carpet don’t go together well at all. Soaked carpeting is a mess, and it can quickly become a haven for mold and mildew. Of course, there are times that your carpet may end up soaked with water – a leaking roof, a flash flood, or even just a door left open accidentally during a rainstorm can lead to soaked carpeting. Whatever the case, you need to know the best way to get water out of carpet, and get things dry and cleaned up quickly. How do you do that?
The first step is speed
Before we explain how to dry carpet, we need to mention that speed is actually pretty important here. You need to move with all haste. Don’t let it sit until tomorrow. Do it now. This can save you a great deal of headache, time and money. You need to give the padding under the carpet (and the floor under the padding) time to dry. Otherwise, you may still be looking at mold growth or even floor damage.
Suck up the excess water
The first step in to get water out of carpet is to rent a professional grade extractor or carpet cleaner. A large fan or two may also help, and if the flooding is serious, you will need a professional grade dehumidifier that’s capable of pulling about 30 gallons a day from the air. There’s little point in using a wet/dry shop vac, as these just don’t have the power to get enough water out. Rent a unit (or hire a pro). Next, slowly move the cleaner across the carpet to remove as much water as possible.
Getting the carpet up
You’ll need to remove the carpet in order to let the padding and floor dry. To do this, you’ll need to work from the edge of the room. Remove the baseboards around the entire room, and then pull up one corner of the carpet where it meets the wall (preferably at the edge of the room, so you’re holding the actual corner of the carpet. Pull in line with the wall to remove the carpet from the tack strip that holds it down. Note that the nails on the tack strip are curved, and you’ll need to pull in the direction of the curve to avoid tearing the carpet while pulling it up. Also note that tack strips are very, very sharp, so keep kids and small pets out of the room until the carpet is back in place.
Pull up the padding
Once the carpet is up, remove the padding. You can squeeze it to get water out, but this material is a lot like a sponge. It will need to air dry. Lay it out somewhere that it can air dry (preferably with a fan blowing on it). Ideally, you’ll have a way to hang it so that both sides are exposed to the air.
Vacuum the carpet again
With the padding out of the way, lay the carpet back down on the floor and vacuum it again. You might be surprised at the amount of moisture you get out with a second pass. Once you’re done, crank up the fans, turn on the dehumidifier and open the windows (if it’s dry outside), and wait a day or so. Once everything is dry, you can lay the pad back down, and then install the carpet again.
If all that sounds like an awful lot of work (or you’re not sure you can get all the water out on your own), hire a professional.