With flooded carpets, dirt typically settles deep into the fibers and often needs more than just water extraction for proper removal. |
With the dangers of flooding, leaking hot water heaters, bursting pipes and ground in soil, carpets are under siege. However, there are many proactive things that cleaning professionals can do to salvage flooded or dirty carpeting — not only preserve the existing carpeting, but in many cases, make it look new again.
Dealing with flooded carpet is a situation that needs immediate response. In these situations, a wet carpet pad can act like a sponge and can cause big problems if left to dry on its own.
When flooding from heavy rains occur, businesses are dealing with "gray water" one of three categories of water damage. With gray water — water that contains some degree of contamination — simply extracting the water from the carpet is only the first step in the cleaning process. Because it was contaminated with dirty water, the carpet also needs to be removed and treated with an antimicrobial solution. The pad also needs to be removed and possibly replaced, and the carpet needs to be cleaned after it has been put back into place.
However, if the carpet has remained untreated for more than 48 hours, the water that has soaked the carpet is considered "black" — grossly unsanitary water that arises from sewage or other contaminated water — and the carpet in most cases cannot be salvaged.
Clear water problems are the easiest of the three types of water damage to treat because it lacks contaminants, unlike gray and black water. However, this type of water damage must still be addressed with as much caution as gray or black water.
For flooded carpets that have been deeply soiled, a more aggressive cleaning approach will prove more effective.
"If old and soiled carpeting is not in the budget to replace, the absolute best method that I know of to treat it is called extreme vacuuming," says Waddell. "A lot of times, the vacuuming program has been so poor over the years, and you've got so much dry soil built up into the carpet, that when you introduce water to try to extract it, you just get mud."
In such a case, a carpet may need aggressive vacuuming over a period of days to extract the soil embedded deep in the fibers. Once accomplished, a program of pre-spraying, deep agitation with an alkaline cleaner and extraction with clean water is recommended.
Some soiled carpets can also benefit from an encapsulated cleaning process.
Performing these clean-ups will require the use of proper agitating and extracting equipment, and, of course, a good vacuum cleaner. In most cases, additional investment in specialized equipment and products aren't needed.
Cleaning deeply soiled carpeting doesn't have to be a difficult task. It just takes a consistent and effective approach that supports the integrity of a carpet care program.
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