8 No-Fuss Steps on How to Clean a Wet Carpet After a Flood

Flood cleanup is not an easy task. Cleaning a carpet that is wet is the most important of all the actions you need to take. If water is in your basement, homeowners should act quickly to protect their family and reduce the likelihood of additional costs. This article will show you how to quickly and safely clean your flood damaged carpets.

Difficulty : 4/5 Challenging. Only DIY if youre a pro at what you do

Time Required:6 hours-2 Days

What you’ll need:


  • Utility knife
  • Optional: Staple Remover
  • Vacuum for shop use, dry or wet
  • Towels and drying cloths
  • Circulating fan(s).
  • Antibacterial carpet sanitizer
  • Baking soda


  • Dehumidifier

Assess the type of flood and damage

Flood damage requires immediate action. However, homeowners need to assess the situation before attempting to dry out. You must determine whether the water in your carpet comes from a contaminated source, or clean, fresh rainwater.

There are three types of water that can flood your home.

  • Pure water: Water from rain or a broken pipe that is not connected to any appliances. It cannot be mixed with any contaminants.
  • Gray water Contains chemicals and other contaminants that can be found in dishwashers or washing machines
  • Blackwater – This water comes from sewage, toilet backflows or nearby water sources in case of severe storms or hurricanes. Often, it is in urban areas.

If your carpet is gray or blackwater, it will need to be removed. It could contain contaminants that can pose serious health risks for you and your family.

  • Check out Carpet Extraction as an Alternative

If you believe that the water is clean, there are other things to do before you spend hours cleaning up the water.

It might be easier to check how the carpet is attached to the floor if the flooding is serious enough. You can pull the carpet from the edges and roll it. If the carpet is held down by tack strips, then you might be able to steam-extract it.

This method is expensive at $500 but it significantly reduces the likelihood of mold or mildew growth later. According to the Environmental Protection Agency you have 48 hours to stop mold or mildew growth. If you want to preserve your carpet, this is the best way to go.

  • Get to work as quickly as you can

It’s important to act fast if DIY drying or cleaning is the best option for you. The more water that soaks into carpet, the higher the likelihood of mold and mildew growth, as well as irreversible damage.

Combining wet/dry vacuuming with applying pressure using dry towels to corners and difficult-to-reach places is the best way to remove floodwater as quickly as possible. Turn on the fans and open windows to dry out any areas that are not soaking.

Slow down when using your shop vacuum. Slowly drain large amounts of water and then chip away at each affected region. It will take several hours to go around the affected area.

Learn how to clean and dry flooded floors when time is short

  • Pay Attention to the Carpet Pad

You will need to remove any carpet padding underneath. This is best done once the water has been controlled.

Asya Biddle (Angi Expert Review Board member, manager of The Dust Busters janitorial business in Williamsport, PA) says that this step is essential. Mold and bacteria can grow on carpet padding, causing further damage and posing a risk to homeowners’ health.

Your carpet pad is designed to reduce noise and stress and make it easier for mold and mildew to grow. Mold and mildew will grow even if the carpet is dried completely before you lay it down. After your carpet has dried, you can decide whether you want to install a new pad yourself or hire a professional.

  • After the Carpet is Dry, Apply Sanitizer

Applying a cleaning solution to carpets that feel dry can give you some peace of mind regarding mold, mildew, and contaminants. This is a good step to clean your basement after any small flooding.

A good option is to use a pine-based cleaner or an antibacterial carpet solution purchased at a home improvement shop for $30. Experts suggest that a bleach solution of 5% is sufficient to kill germs and not alter the carpet’s color. However, you should be cautious if you do decide to use bleach.

  • Turn on Your Dehumidifier

Buy a basement dehumidifier that is the right size, starting at 150 and keep it running for the next few months. This will pull out moisture from the air, which can otherwise turn to mold or mildew, and improve the air quality.

The majority of dehumidifiers work with either one or both of these options. Either empty the tray every time it fills up, or connect a hose so that it drains into a sump pump or sink. For the first few days, empty your tray if it has one.

  • Look out for Musty Smells

Keep an eye out for musty odors in the coming weeks. This could indicate mold.

Sprinkle baking soda on your carpet. Allow it to sit for a few hours, then vacuum the baking soda. To remove all the baking soda, you should go over your carpet two times. This is a great option.

Protect your home by inspecting the damage and extracting the water.

  • When to call a pro

Flood professionals should be contacted immediately if there is severe damage or contaminated water sources.

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