Coming home to a flooded basement or wet carpet is the worst. But don’t give up. In most cases, you can salvage your carpet and prevent mold growth with a few simple steps that will save you money and your sanity.
We have had six different flooding and water damage incidents in our basement. We’ve got bad luck I guess. Fortunately, each time it has happened, whether it was storm water, sprinklers or leaking pipes, we’ve been able to salvage our wet carpet. Here’s what you need to do right now if you’ve run into the same problem.
Stop the leak, flooding or water source
This might seem obvious but it’s necessary step. If it’s a slow leak or you’re not sure where the water is coming from, follow the steps below first. You may have to call a plumber to professionally assess the situation. Unfortunately, in our situation, we had a storm drain that was facing the wrong direction in our front yard. Once all the snow had melted, it sank deep to our foundation and made its way into our basement. No bueno.
Pull up the wet carpet immediately
This part is super annoying, especially if you have wet furniture, but you gotta do it. If you can catch the water damage within 48 hours of it occurring, you can usually prevent mold growth. So, grab a pair of pliers and gently pull at the corner of your carpet until it starts to separate from the tack strips. Then carefully pull up the entire section of carpet that is wet. You can sometimes see the water line that indicates the area that is wet.
Suck up the water
This makes a huge difference! Use a wet vac or a carpet cleaner. If you don’t have one, let me tell you, they are worth every penny. You’ll be amazed at how much water you’ll suck up. Run it across the carpet and then the pad several times. You won’t get it all but it will significantly decrease the amount of time it takes to dry on its own.
Elevate the carpet and turn on the fans
Find a tall sturdy object such as a 5-gallon bucket to elevate the carpet. Then aim a fan right at the wet carpet and pad. A high-powered utility floor fan works the best. I used to have one of those bad boys. I used it so much, it finally gave out on me after years of use. If the weather permits, open the windows as well.
Try baking soda or dehumidifier
Depending on the severity of your flooding, you might want to try renting a dehumidifier. It pulls about 22 pints of moisture out of the air per day. You can also try sprinkling bulk baking soda on the wet carpet. Apparently it pulls the moisture out of the carpet and eliminates odors. Let it sit for up to 24 hours and then vacuum it up. I didn’t try either of these options since our water damage wasn’t very extensive.
The hard part about water damage is that it can take several days for the carpet and pad to dry out completely. Some professional recommend replacing the pad no matter what. However, if the water damage isn’t too extensive, you can still salvage it. But carpet pad is relatively cheap, so you decide. While you are waiting, you can also check the drywall and insulation to see if it is wet. If so, you’ll need to replace the affected area.
Lay carpet back down
If you’re lucky, the carpet will lay back down and look the way it did before. However, in many cases, you’ll most likely need to call a carpet guy to stretch the carpet and tack it back down.
Check out these other tips below to saving your wet carpet:
- 7 tips to drying wet carpet quickly
- Tips to prevent basement flooding
- How to prevent carpet mold after water damage
What ideas do you have for drying out your wet carpet? Leave your comments below.
Related link: 10 things kids destroy and how to fix them