Choices for cleaning wet carpets & water damaged carpets can be exercised only after a professional has examined the extent of damage that floods have caused in your carpet. Flood damage can vary from a little basement seepage or lawn runoff in half-basement apartments, to total submersion in sewage-contaminated flood water which has been lasting for days or worse still several weeks. If the latter is the case, it is quite possible that the carpet may have to be discarded. |
"Even with your best efforts, wet carpet will be difficult to clean and it will be a challenge to prevent mildew and odor problems," says Jan Stone, extension textiles and clothing specialist, Iowa State University.
However some people feel that that it is worth taking a chance by first cleaning it before discarding it, which is also an option people like to choose and in such a here are some things you can do. Following are some tips for cleaning flood-damaged carpet, and it is recommended that one is wearing rubber gloves when handling sewage-contaminated carpet to play safe.
Get wet carpet off the floor 1. If it's not glued down, roll up the carpet and take it outside to a driveway, patio, or garage floor. Be careful not to puncture your skin with carpet tacks or staples if you must pull up wall-to-wall carpet. Skin wounds put you at greater risk of infectious disease. 2. If the carpet is too heavy to move, lift it off the floor and prop it up on saw-horses, old chairs, or other supports to drain. It may be light enough to move outside after it drains. Don't let your caret dry this way if you want to save it, or it will be stretched out of shape and won't be flat when dry. 3. Remove the spongy pad underneath. It will hold water and begin to stink. Carpet padding is cheaper to replace than carpet; it probably is not salvageable. 4. Try cleaning a glued-down carpet in place before you attempt to pull it up, because the foam backing probably will be pulled apart (see the clean-it-yourself in place steps later in this list). Use a wet-and-dry vacuum to extract water. 5. After you have taken up the carpet and pad, then clean the floors with detergent solution and bleach before dealing with the carpet, so you can minimize odor and mildew in the house.
Clean the carpet professionally 1. Consult a professional cleaner, describing your damage. They can advise you if your carpet is worth saving. If so, they may be able to come to your home and pick up your carpet at no extra charge. 2. Otherwise, you can take it to them. Professional carpet cleaners charge by the square foot or the hour. Get a cost estimate before you order the service. 3. A steam cleaning (hot-water extraction) method is preferred. Professional cleaners will apply chemicals to help sanitize the carpet. They will return it to you dry, but your home must be ready for it. 4. Leave the carpet at the cleaners while you deal with other flood damage.
Clean-it-yourself outside the house
You can rent a steam carpet cleaning machine and buy the appropriate shampoo to use in cleaning. If a machine is not available, you can take the following steps.
1. Take the carpet outside to lay flat on a dry concrete area, such as a driveway, patio, or garage floor, preferably in full sun. A sloping driveway would be the best choice. 2. Use a garden hose with a strong spray nozzle. Start at one end and "sweep" the carpet with water. Do this once. Turn it over and hose the back side. Then "sweep" the face with water again. 3. Pour on an all-purpose liquid ammonia or pine-based cleaner and let it soak a few minutes. (Do not use full-strength ammonia.) Check ingredient labels on brand name products. Your carpet may change color or fade after contact with these cleaners. 4. "Sweep" the carpet again, forcing the cleaning foam and dirt ahead of you. 5. Rinse thoroughly until all of the cleaning foam has been removed. You MUST rinse before any bleaching to remove stains to avoid producing toxic fumes that result when bleach and ammonia are mixed. 6. After the cleaner is rinsed out completely, use a wet-and-dry vacuum to get water out of the carpet 7. Dry the carpet as quickly as possible (see steps below) to help avoid mildew.
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