Believe it or not, the best method to use to clean water damaged carpet is to add more water. I know, silly right? Well, actually adding more water to water damaged carpet allows the clean water to wash out the retained water. However, you don't want to just add water to your water damaged carpet.
Hot Water Extraction
To properly clean the water damaged carpet, it will have to be extracted using very hot water. This is the same term as "Steam Cleaning." Same process, different name. However, rental steam cleaners are less powerful than commercial units. Many of the rental machines do not have internal heating elements. Professional units are very powerful and heat the water throughout the entire process. In addition, they will be able to successfully remove the majority of the water and have the equipment that will increase the drying time. This is highly recommended for any major or severe water damaged issues.
The hot water extraction process…
- Carpet Preconditioning – A high alkaline detergent is applied to the carpet
- Agitation – Using a brush or other equipment to help the detergent penetrate the carpet's surface
- Dwell Time – The detergent must be given some time to work
- Cleaning – Professional cleaning equipment uses hot water and brushes to scrub the carpet . This loosens dirt and anything else soiling the carpet. The hot water sanitizes the carpet and the brushes clean the stains and dirt. Later a vacuum removes stains, moisture, dirt, and detergent.
- Drying – Despite how powerful the hot water extraction vacuums are, not all moisture can be removed from the carpet. Floor dryers, dehumidifiers, and standing fans are used to circulate the air and accelerate the drying process.
When To Clean The Carpet and When To Get Rid of It
There are some instances where carpet cannot be saved, no matter how powerful the machine. If your carpet has been soiled due to a sewer back-up or black water, it is time to rip it up and throw it out. The chances of getting an illness from the bacteria in the carpet is not worth the risk. Also, if your carpet is soiled all the way to the sub floor, sorry…it's time to pitch it.
Can You Clean The Carpet Yourself?
It depends but the answer is almost always… You shouldn't. Rental steam cleaners can't clean and disinfect like professional cleaning equipment. It's best to leave professionals with the right equipment and the right cleaning process handle it for you.
Most importantly, when you notice your carpet is a product of water damage, it is imperative to act quickly! Allowing the water to sit will most likely cause structural damage to your home.
A good restoration company can make sure water damage remediation is done right and that you're out of pocket damage liability is kept to a minimum. We've helped numerous home and business owners and they and their insurance company always appreciate our surgical approach to restoration!