A flood can be a travesty for many homeowners and their families causing irreparable damages to your home. Floodwater can ruin carpets, destroy a home’s foundation, and if caused by a sewer backup, create a toxic biohazard. This can leave a less than professional appeal to the resale value of your home for many years to come.
Water damage restoration may require the help of professionals as the potential for mold begins to mount when left to stagnate. Although this can render carpets unsalvageable and in need of replacement, there are still a few cleaning and rejuvenation steps you can take on your own.
Post-Flood Carpet Cleaning
Experiencing just a small amount of water seeping into your home is cause for concern. It doesn’t take much water nor time for mold growth to appear. The sooner you begin on the post-flood cleanup, then the better the chances of avoiding mold or other secondary water damages to your carpets.
Step 1. Remove Water as Soon as Possible
Using a wet/dry vacuum, you’ll want to soak up as much water as you can. These tools can often be rented or provided by water damage mitigation companies who specialize in these sorts of repairs.
Step 2. Fans to Speed Up the Drying Process
Drying fans can help accelerate the drying process to your carpets after a flood occurs. It can take several days before fans are able to completely dry a water-damaged area. It’s best to keep the fans turned on 24 hours a day for about a week because although you may think it is dry inside, it is assuredly not. However, the fans are circulating fresh air flow throughout your home so it is actually beneficial to your home. If possible, lift the carpet and ventilate underneath.
Step 3. Steam Cleaning
During the drying process, you can opt to use a professional strength carpet steam cleaner to remove microbes from the carpet fibers. Steam cleaning with an anti-microbial carpet cleaning solution will help sanitize and deodorize the carpets. This process can help save the carpet leaving only the need to replace the water-damaged padding underneath.
If you can’t afford to steam clean, then you can choose to shampoo the carpet. You’ll have to repeat the drying process immediately following this procedure. In order to reduce the musty smell, sprinkle a bit of baking soda over the carpet, working it in with a broom or sponge mop. Leave it on overnight and vacuum the baking soda out in the morning.
Step 4. Dehumidify
Dehumidifiers remove excessive moisture allowing the air to feel cooler. This also limits mold growth possibilities. Using equipment that helps dry out the air can only speed up the recovery time of your damaged floors and carpets.
Step 5. Get New Carpet
Sometimes, no matter how effective and thorough the cleaning, the carpet remains unsalvageable. This is true if the carpet has been consumed by toxic materials and residual waste. Padding is nearly impossible to clean so should be replaced.
If the carpet has been submerged for over 24 hours, then it may be time for a little “out with the old, in with the new” treatment. Homeowners are better off replacing it than exposing themselves to health hazards.
Step 6. Check the Furniture
Remove all furniture from the wet flooring. Check each section for water damage and wipe down all surfaces. Ensure that the furniture itself, as well as the flooring, are completely dry before returning it to its original place.
Step 7. Checking for Mold
Once the carpet has been cleaned and dried, then it becomes essential to check for mold and mildew periodically. Mold thrives on moisture so leave the dehumidifier running for a few months following the flood. This can help keep residual moisture low inside the home.