9 Wet Carpet Cleaning Myths

Water has broken your carpets. Maybe you had a rest room leak, perhaps your water heater burst, perhaps your child left the tap working within the sink for hours.

What must you do to dry your moist carpet to attenuate injury to your carpet and pad?

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

General Information about Water and Carpets

Residential carpet often has a pad beneath it. The pad could be wherever from 1/4 inch to nearly an inch thick. The pad gives cushioning and offers your carpet that comfy, comfortable really feel if you stroll on it.

Commercial carpet in workplaces and shops typically does not have pad beneath it.

Carpet pad absorbs water like a sponge: The drawback with pad beneath a carpet is that it’s a sponge and might maintain many instances 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 does not cease or maintain a lot water:

Although your carpet could really feel very strong beneath 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 does not keep put, it’s all the time on the transfer. The rule to recollect is “Wet goes to Dry”. Water will mechanically transfer in direction of a dry constructing materials.

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

When 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 could be seen utilizing an infrared digicam. An infrared (or Thermal Imaging) digicam is helpful to find the actual space that the water has broken, even if you cannot see or really feel it.

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

An infrared digicam will present how water travels beneath 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 frequent myths about moist carpets and the best way to dry moist carpets

Myth #1. The carpet will dry by itself

This is definitely true, similar to it’s true that you possibly can win the lottery with one ticket.

Yes, the carpet will ultimately dry by itself. However, will it odor unhealthy or have mould on it by the point it’s dry? What different injury will happen whereas the carpet dries by itself?

Unless you reside in someplace like Arizona or the desert the place you’ve 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 odor. Typically you’ve about 72 hours to dry moist constructing supplies earlier than they begin rising mould.

Even if the carpet itself dries, does that imply the pad is dry? There could be very little 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 concerning the moist sub-floor? Remember that carpet is sort of a sieve, and the carpet will cross 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 often both wooden or concrete.

Concrete sub flooring are sponges too, besides they’re very sluggish sponges. They take up 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.

Wood sub-floors maintain water too. If they’re product of chip-board/particle board/press-board (small chips of wooden held along with glue) and they’re moist for various hours they take up water, broaden, and lose their structural integrity.

When moist particle board dries it has nearly no energy and you’ll find your self stepping by your flooring for those who’re not cautious.

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

Determining whether or not the sub-floor is moist or not can solely reliably be accomplished with a penetrating moisture meter. Different constructing supplies have totally different acceptable ranges of moisture, so you employ the meter to let you know if the fabric is acceptably dry or not.

(*9*) on the area you reside in, plywood is dry at round 20% Equivalent Moisture Content (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. But even when they did, is that every one it’s important to concern your self with when your carpets are moist? No, it isn’t.

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. During that point the house proprietor used her moist vac to suck up as a lot water as doable from the moist carpet – about 100 gallons.

She simply needed us to dry her carpets. However, utilizing the infrared digicam and moisture meters, we discovered that her partitions have been moist, in some locations to nearly 12″ above the carpet.

Wet drywall, is that an issue?

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

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

So that is the issue – moist carpet creates moist drywall which may create mould. Below is an image of a wall after water had been standing for a very long time.

To summarize. Yes, the carpet will ultimately dry by itself. But 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

Myth #2. You should take away the moist pad beneath your carpet

There is a fantasy which you can’t take away water from a moist pad, even with business extraction gear. People who say this are speaking about the usual carpet cleansing ‘wand’ proven on the precise. It is 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 superb job at that. So if in case you have water injury on business carpet and not using a pad, the wand is an effective instrument to make use of.

However, on residential carpet with a pad, it extracts nearly 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 lot of new business extraction instruments that may take away water from the pad. Our favourite is the FlashXtractor. It is an excellent piece of apparatus, in all probability my favourite instrument. (We haven’t any affiliation with the makers of this instrument, and obtain no compensation for mentioning it)

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

Before 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 float a carpet, you pull up a nook of the carpet and stick an air mover or carpet fan beneath the carpet to blow air beneath the carpet and onto the pad. While this methodology nonetheless works it’s slower, much less efficient, and infrequently stretches the carpet in order that it does not match correctly when restretched.

Floating the carpet is an old style method that’s pointless if in case you have the precise instruments, ie a deep extraction instrument such because the FlashXtractor.

To complicate issues, bear this in thoughts. While you may dry moist pad, it does not all the time imply it’s best to.

If you’ve contaminated water within the pad you may dry it, however you’ll be leaving not less than some contamination within the pad and over time, it should begin to stink and decay. In contaminated water conditions you’ll have to take away the pad as a result of you may’t successfully decontaminate it whereas it’s beneath the carpet. In the water restoration business, contaminated water is known as Category 2 (grey water) or Category 3 (black water).

Myth #3. You cannot dry a moist pad beneath a carpet

The reality to this fantasy is similar as for the query above. Basically, you may dry a moist pad, even with out floating that carpet, however that does not imply you all the time ought to. See the reply above for particulars.

Myth #4. You should carry 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 if in case you have a deep extraction instrument and know the best way to use it.

Myth #5. You should take away and discard moist carpet.


If you’ve a black water state of affairs (Category 3 water – contaminated water akin to sewage, rest room leak or rising floor water), in accordance with the business normal IICRC S500, it’s important to discard the carpet. I consider it’s because there isn’t any EPA registered disinfectant for carpet.

However, if in case you have Category 2 water (grey water akin to washer waste water, bathe runoff,and so on) it’s important to discard the pad, however you may clear the carpet and preserve it.

Category 1 water (clear water – rest room provide line, fridge ice maker, and so on), and it hasn’t been sitting for greater than 48 hours, then you may extract the water and preserve the carpet and pad.

The different cause water injury restoration technicians typically consider 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 is glued on. If it will get moist and stays moist for a very long time it will probably separate from the carpet fibers and begin to disintegrate.

How lengthy is a very long time? It’s laborious to foretell – depends upon the carpet, the temperature, how moist it was, and so on. Normally by the point the carpet de-laminates you have acquired a black water state of affairs anyway, so the carpet has to go.

Myth #6. Professional Carpet Cleaning will dry your carpet and pad

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

Myth #7. To take away the moist carpet odor, it’s best to have it professionally cleaned.

Yes, with a ‘largely’ connected to it. The carpet cleansing machines and strategies obtainable to most dwelling homeowners aren’t very efficient. Compared to business carpet cleansing gear, the carpet cleansing machines you hire from the native grocery store are like a moped is to a Harley. They’re the identical factor, however not likely.

Getting something aside from a light-weight odor out of a carpet requires the excessive strain and suction of a business machine. It additionally requires the experience of a educated and skilled carpet cleaner. There are many causes and options to totally different smells in a carpet and figuring out what to do and when to it requires coaching and expertise.

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

Myth #8. If you dry a flooded carpet, you’ll not get a moldy moist carpet odor

Depends. If a carpet is dried shortly and correctly there will probably be no odor. In reality, if something, there will probably be much less odor as a result of the carpet has successfully been cleaned.

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

See fantasy #2 for extra particulars.

Myth #9. You have to make use of a truck mount carpet extractor to dry or clear a carpet correctly

False. This is an ongoing debate that I do not suppose will ever be resolved fully. Portable carpet cleansing machines have the benefit of brief hose runs whereas truck mounts have the benefit of excessive energy.

What it comes all the way down to is absolutely the technician holding the wand. technician on a foul machine will get a greater end result than a foul technician on a superb machine.


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

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