Rain water that has flooded the carpet usually isn't a health risk, as long as carpets are properly cleaned and dried before any mold or mildew has a chance to form. Establishing the source of the leak or flood causing the water damage is very important, as it will determine whether you should attempt water damage restoration of your carpet or whether your treasured heirloom has, sadly, become an unsalvageable health hazard. |
The first way the situation can be handled is by cleaning the flooded carpet yourself. Wet carpet cleaning is a very large task to tackle, but it can be done without professional help, if you're willing to stick at it, and do a lot of work. If the carpet has been wet for more than 24 hours, it is considered water damaged carpet and should be replaced. Remember that only the carpet can be cleaned and dried, but if the padding is soaked or wet then it needs to be replaced. Padding can't be salvaged usually after it becomes wet. It is a good rule of thumb to remove the carpet in order to clean it, but in cases where carpet cannot be removed, all hope is not lost. Part of the flooded carpet cleaning process involves getting the carpet dry as quickly as possible. In order to solve the problem yourself you can use a specialised wet/dry vacuum (not just a normal vacuum cleaner) to suck up as much water as possible and eliminate the spread of mould.
The best way to clean water damaged carpet yourself, however, is to remove the carpet by rolling it up and taking it outside to a flat or sloped surface and unrolling it. After unrolling the carpet, spray both sides with a garden hose, and then douse it with ammonia or a pine based cleaning solution and let it penetrate for several minutes. Next, spray the carpet down with a water hose again on both sides until all the suds vanish. The quickest way to dry the carpet, using this method, is to allow it to lay flat in the sun, flipping it over once in a while to ensure both sides are drying out equally. Once the carpet or rug is completely dry, it can then be returned indoors.
The second way to handle a situation involving flooded carpet, and what is recommended, is to call a professional who specializes in flooded carpet cleaning. Professionals are equipped with the tools, knowledge, and experience needed to safely restore carpet. Professionals deal with wet carpet cleaning (and other problems like carpet bugs) on a daily basis and can efficiently handle the job in less time than you can complete the project yourself. The cost of hiring a professional is more in terms of money, but will save you a lot of time and hassle in the long run. If the carpet has been wet longer than 24 hours, a professional may even determine the carpet cannot be properly restored and suggest replacing it.
Professional water clean up services use industrial fans running at high speed (high velocity air movers) to dry carpets. These are left running for at least 36 hours. To remove the moisture released into the air during the drying process, they use high capacity dehumidifiers. Water clean up companies will usually use hot-water extraction (steam cleaning) to clean the carpet and then apply chemicals to both sides of the carpet to sanitize it.
Whatever the type of water damage, the wet padding underneath carpeting must be discarded because it is impossible to clean.
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