Water has broken your carpets. Perhaps you had a bathroom leak, perhaps your water heater burst, perhaps your child left the tap operating within the sink for hours.

What do you have to do to dry your moist carpet to attenuate harm to your carpet and pad?

To begin with, there’s some common details about carpets you need to know that applies to all of the myths .

Normal Details about Water and Carpets

Residential carpet normally has a pad beneath it. The pad will be anyplace from 1/four inch to virtually an inch thick. The pad gives cushioning and provides your carpet that comfy, mushy really feel while you stroll on it.

Industrial carpet in places of work and shops usually does not have pad beneath it.

Carpet pad absorbs water like a sponge: The issue with pad underneath a carpet is that it’s a sponge and may maintain many instances it is personal weight in water.

Pad is designed to cushion your toes, so it’s spongy by nature and can absorb water just like the cleansing sponge in your kitchen sink.

Carpet does not cease or maintain a lot water:

Though your carpet might really feel very stable underneath your toes, it presents little or no resistance to water passing by means of it.

Carpet is definitely like a sieve to water. A typical carpet is not going to 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 means of the carpet and into the pad.

Water likes to journey:Water does not keep put, it’s at all times on the transfer. The rule to recollect is “Moist goes to Dry”. Water will robotically transfer in direction of a dry constructing materials.

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

If you contact the carpet on the fringe of the room, it might not even really feel damp, however the pad may very well be saturated. This may be seen utilizing an infrared digicam. An infrared (or Thermal Imaging) digicam is beneficial find the actual space that the water has broken, even if you cannot see or really feel it.

Generally I might say that the precise moist space in any flood (discovered with skilled water harm meters) is about twice the dimensions of what the house proprietor studies.

An infrared digicam will present how water travels underneath the carpet by means of the pad. Even in a ‘small’ flood, water can migrate by means of partitions and find yourself 2 rooms away inside 12 hours.

Bearing the knowledge above in thoughts, listed below are some widespread myths about moist carpets and the best way to dry moist carpets

Delusion #1. The carpet will dry by itself

That is truly true, similar to it’s true that you would win the lottery with one ticket.

Sure, the carpet will ultimately dry by itself. Nevertheless, will it scent unhealthy or have mildew on it by the point it’s dry? What different harm will happen whereas the carpet dries by itself?

Until you reside in someplace like Arizona or the desert the place you might have excessive temperature and low humidity, there’s VERY little probability that the carpet and pad will dry earlier than mildew begins rising or micro organism begin creating that moist carpet, damp scent. Usually you might have about 72 hours to dry moist constructing supplies earlier than they begin rising mildew.

Even when the carpet itself dries, does that imply the pad is dry? There may be little or no probability that the pad is dry. The pad holds extra moisture than carpet and is prevented from simply releasing the moisture as a result of 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 in regards to the moist sub-floor? Keep in mind that carpet is sort of a sieve, and the carpet will go water right 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 normally both wooden or concrete.

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

Wooden sub-floors maintain water too. In the event that they’re manufactured from chip-board/particle board/press-board (small chips of wooden held along with glue) and they’re moist for various hours they soak up water, increase, and lose their structural integrity.

When moist particle board dries it has virtually no energy and you can find your self stepping by means of your ground in the event you’re not cautious.

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

Figuring out whether or not the sub-floor is moist or not can solely reliably be carried out with a penetrating moisture meter. Completely different constructing supplies have totally different acceptable ranges of moisture, so you employ the meter to inform you if the fabric is acceptably dry or not.

Relying on the area you reside in, plywood is dry at round 20% Equal Moisture Content material (EMC). In as little as four days, mildew can begin rising on moist plywood if not dried appropriately.

So, we all know that the carpet and pad are unlikely to dry shortly sufficient by themselves. However even when they did, is that each one it’s a must to concern your self with when your carpets are moist? No, it is not.

Like I stated, 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 received moist about 12 hours earlier than we arrived. Throughout that point the house proprietor used her moist vac to suck up as a lot water as attainable from the moist carpet – about 100 gallons.

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

Moist drywall, is that an issue?

The issue with moist drywall is the standard 72 hour downside.

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

In order that’s the issue – moist carpet creates moist drywall which may create mildew. Beneath is an image of a wall after water had been standing for a very long time.

To summarize. Sure, the carpet will ultimately dry by itself. However you will greater than probably have mildew and smells by the point it’s dry, and you then’ll be ripping partitions and carpet out to repair the issue

Delusion #2. You need to take away the moist pad beneath your carpet

There’s a fantasy you could’t take away water from a moist pad, even with industrial extraction tools. Individuals who say this are speaking about the usual carpet cleansing ‘wand’ proven on the appropriate. It’s what is usually used to scrub 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 an excellent job at that. So when you’ve got water harm on industrial carpet with out a pad, the wand is an effective device to make use of.

Nevertheless, on residential carpet with a pad, it extracts virtually 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 selection of latest industrial extraction instruments that may take away water from the pad. Our favourite is the FlashXtractor. It’s a great piece of kit, in all probability my favourite device. (We’ve got no affiliation with the makers of this device, 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!

Earlier than 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 as a result of poor job the wand did of extracting water from the pad.

To drift a carpet, you pull up a nook of the carpet and stick an air mover or carpet fan underneath the carpet to blow air underneath the carpet and onto the pad. Whereas 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 when you’ve got the appropriate instruments, ie a deep extraction device such because the FlashXtractor.

To complicate issues, bear this in thoughts. Whilst you can dry moist pad, it does not at all times imply you need to.

You probably have contaminated water within the pad you may dry it, however you may be leaving no less than some contamination within the pad and over time, it can 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. Within the water restoration business, contaminated water is known as Class 2 (grey water) or Class three (black water).

Delusion #three. You possibly can’t dry a moist pad underneath a carpet

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

Delusion #four. You need to 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 when you’ve got a deep extraction device and know the best way to use it.

Delusion #5. You need to take away and discard moist carpet.


You probably have a black water scenario (Class three water – contaminated water similar to sewage, bathroom leak or rising floor water), in keeping with the business normal IICRC S500, it’s a must to discard the carpet. I imagine it is because there isn’t a EPA registered disinfectant for carpet.

Nevertheless, when you’ve got Class 2 water (grey water similar to washer waste water, bathe runoff,and many others) it’s a must to discard the pad, however you may clear the carpet and maintain it.

Class 1 water (clear water – bathroom provide line, fridge ice maker, and many others), and it hasn’t been sitting for greater than 48 hours, then you may extract the water and maintain the carpet and pad.

The opposite purpose water harm restoration technicians generally imagine 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’s glued on. If it will get moist and stays moist for a very long time it might separate from the carpet fibers and begin to disintegrate.

How lengthy is a very long time? It is laborious to foretell – will depend on the carpet, the temperature, how moist it was, and many others. Usually by the point the carpet de-laminates you have received a black water scenario anyway, so the carpet has to go.

Delusion #6. Skilled Carpet Cleansing will dry your carpet and pad

No. Not except they use a deep extraction device that’s designed particularly to take away water from the pad. A daily carpet cleansing wand is not going to take away vital water from the carpet pad.

Delusion #7. To take away the moist carpet scent, you need to have it professionally cleaned.

Sure, with a ‘principally’ hooked up to it. The carpet cleansing machines and strategies out there to most residence homeowners aren’t very efficient. In comparison with industrial carpet cleansing tools, the carpet cleansing machines you lease 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 lightweight scent out of a carpet requires the excessive stress and suction of a industrial machine. It additionally requires the experience of a skilled and skilled carpet cleaner. There are lots of causes and options to totally different smells in a carpet and understanding what to do and when to it requires coaching and expertise.

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

Delusion #eight. If you happen to dry a flooded carpet, you’ll not get a moldy moist carpet scent

Relies upon. If a carpet is dried shortly and correctly there shall be no scent. Actually, if something, there shall be much less scent as a result of the carpet has successfully been cleaned.

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

See fantasy #2 for extra particulars.

Delusion #9. You need to use a truck mount carpet extractor to dry or clear a carpet correctly

False. That is an ongoing debate that I do not assume will ever be resolved fully. Moveable carpet cleansing machines have the benefit of quick hose runs whereas truck mounts have the benefit of excessive energy.

What it comes right down to is actually the technician holding the wand. An excellent technician on a foul machine will get a greater end result than a foul technician on an excellent machine.


If you happen to’ve had various gallons of water spilled in your carpet, you are higher off calling an expert water harm firm to correctly dry your own home in the event you can afford it, or when you’ve got insurance coverage. As you leaned above, the issue is that if the carpets and partitions aren’t dried shortly you would face a mildew scenario which is far more costly to repair than drying the carpets.

Supply by Paul W Drayton