9 Moist Carpet Cleansing Myths

Water has broken your carpets. Perhaps you had a bathroom leak, possibly your water heater burst, possibly 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?

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

Common Details about Water and Carpets

Residential carpet normally has a pad beneath it. The pad will be wherever from 1/four inch to nearly an inch thick. The pad offers cushioning and provides your carpet that snug, gentle really feel whenever you stroll on it.

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

Carpet pad absorbs water like a sponge: The issue with pad below 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:

Though your carpet might really feel very strong below your toes, it affords 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 routinely transfer in direction of a dry constructing materials.

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

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

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

An infrared digital camera will present how water travels below 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 data above in thoughts, listed here are some frequent myths about moist carpets and methods to dry moist carpets

Delusion #1. The carpet will dry by itself

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

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

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

Even when the carpet itself dries, does that imply the pad is dry? There’s little or no probability 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 beneath 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? Keep in mind that carpet is sort of a sieve, and the carpet will move 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 fabricated 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, develop, and lose their structural integrity.

When moist particle board dries it has nearly no energy and you will see that your self stepping by means of your flooring for those who’re not cautious.

Plywood or OSB (Oriented Strand Board) are rather more hardy decisions 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 below 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 finished with a penetrating moisture meter. Completely different constructing supplies have completely 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, 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. However even when they did, is that every one you need to concern your self with when your carpets are moist? No, it isn’t.

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 bought 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 potential from the moist carpet – about 100 gallons.

She simply wished us to dry her carpets. Nonetheless, utilizing the infrared digital camera and moisture meters, we discovered that her partitions had been moist, in some locations to nearly 12″ above the carpet.

Moist drywall, is that an issue?

The issue with moist drywall is the same old 72 hour downside.

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

In order that’s the issue – moist carpet creates moist drywall which may create mould. 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 doubtless have mould and smells by the point it’s dry, and you then’ll be ripping partitions and carpet out to repair the issue

Delusion #2. It’s a must to take away the moist pad beneath your carpet

There’s a fantasy you can’t take away water from a moist pad, even with business extraction gear. Individuals who say this are speaking about the usual carpet cleansing ‘wand’ proven on the precise. It’s what is often used to wash carpets. It sprays sizzling water onto the carpet after which sucks it again up once more.

The wand is designed to tug water out of the carpet fibers, not the pad and it does an excellent job at that. So in case you have water injury on business carpet with no pad, the wand is an efficient instrument to make use of.

Nonetheless, 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 selection of recent business extraction instruments that can take away water from the pad. Our favourite is the FlashXtractor. It’s a fantastic piece of apparatus, most likely my favourite instrument. (We now have no 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 demise!

Earlier than instruments just like the FlashXtractor got here out, there was a way referred to 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 drift a carpet, you pull up a nook of the carpet and stick an air mover or carpet fan below the carpet to blow air below the carpet and onto the pad. Whereas this technique nonetheless works it’s slower, much less efficient, and sometimes stretches the carpet in order that it does not match correctly when restretched.

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

In case you have contaminated water within the pad you may dry it, however you may be leaving not less than some contamination within the pad and over time, it would 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 below a carpet

The reality to this fantasy is similar as for the query above. Mainly, 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. It’s a must to raise 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 in case you have a deep extraction instrument and know methods to use it.

Delusion #5. It’s a must to take away and discard moist carpet.


In case you have a black water scenario (Class three water – contaminated water akin to sewage, rest room leak or rising floor water), in response to the business commonplace IICRC S500, you need to discard the carpet. I consider it’s because there is no such thing as a EPA registered disinfectant for carpet.

Nonetheless, in case you have Class 2 water (grey water akin to washer waste water, bathe runoff,and many others) you need to discard the pad, however you may clear the carpet and hold it.

Class 1 water (clear water – rest room 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 hold the carpet and pad.

The opposite motive 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’s glued on. If it will get moist and stays moist for a very long time it may separate from the carpet fibers and begin to disintegrate.

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

Delusion #6. Skilled Carpet Cleansing 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. An everyday carpet cleansing wand is not going to take away vital water from the carpet pad.

Delusion #7. To take away the moist carpet odor, you must have it professionally cleaned.

Sure, with a ‘principally’ hooked up to it. The carpet cleansing machines and strategies accessible to most residence homeowners aren’t very efficient. In comparison with 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 apart from a lightweight odor out of a carpet requires the excessive stress and suction of a business machine. It additionally requires the experience of a educated and skilled carpet cleaner. There are various causes and options to completely 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 greatest wager is to name an educated and skilled carpet cleaner, ideally one which can also be an IICRC licensed Odor Management Technician.

Delusion #eight. For those who dry a flooded carpet, you’ll not get a moldy moist carpet odor

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

If the carpet and pad usually are not dried shortly and correctly you’ll most likely have an issue with lingering musky smells and mould.

See fantasy #2 for extra particulars.

Delusion #9. It’s a must to use a truck mount carpet extractor to dry or clear a carpet correctly

False. That is an ongoing debate that I do not suppose will ever be resolved utterly. Transportable 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 admittedly the technician holding the wand. A great technician on a foul machine will get a greater end result than a foul technician on an excellent machine.


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

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