waterlogged carpet

Dear George,

We have a basement play area for our kids that took in several dozen gallons of rain water over the weekend. We are concerned now in drying the carpeting and padding that we have mold and need help quickly in assessing and addressing the issues.

signed,

waterlogged

Dear waterlogged,

IF the carpeting has been saturated, you can’t expect miracles. If you can get it completely dry, you might be able to prevent mold.

In your house, run the central air conditioner and dehumidifiers to help remove moisture.

Roll up the carpet and take it somewhere flat clean and dry like your driveway or garage, and unroll it there. If it dries rolled up, it will not lie flat and it will be stretched out of shape. Steam clean and disinfect the carpet. You can rent a professional quality machine to do this. * You can also have a professional give you their bid on removing the carpet and cleaning it. Leave the carpet with the professional cleaner until you deal with other flood damage.

Remove the pad. It is better to replace it.

Clean the floor with bleach and disinfectant, and dry. If hardwood, you will probably need to refinish.

If you must clean it yourself:
You can rent a steam cleaning machine and buy the appropriate shampoo to use in cleaning. If a machine is not available, you can take the following steps.

1. Take the carpet outside to lay flat on a dry concrete area, such as a driveway, patio, or garage floor, preferably in full sun. A sloping driveway would be the best choice.
2. Use a garden hose with a strong spray nozzle. Start at one end and “sweep” the carpet with water. Do this once. Turn it over and hose the back side. Then “sweep” the face with water again.
3. Pour on an all-purpose liquid ammonia or pine-based cleaner and let it soak a few minutes. (Do not use full-strength ammonia.) Check ingredient labels on brand name products. Your carpet may change color or fade after contact with these cleaners.
4. “Sweep” the carpet again, forcing the cleaning foam and dirt ahead of you.
5. Rinse thoroughly until all of the cleaning foam has been removed. You MUST rinse before any bleaching to remove stains to avoid producing toxic fumes that result when bleach and ammonia are mixed.
6. After the cleaner is rinsed out completely, use a wet-and-dry vacuum to get water out of the carpet
7. Dry the carpet as quickly as possible (see steps below) to help avoid mildew.

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