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Carpets are extremely susceptible to water damage. Many carpets are composed of primary and secondary backings that are held together by latex. This latex is undermined when the carpet gets wet.
Additionally, a wet carpet is the perfect breeding ground for mold. When spores land on wet carpet, germination occurs in as few as 12 hours. Household molds can cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals, irritating their lungs, eyes, skin, nose and throat.
Are there steps a homeowner can take to restore his or her carpet to its pre-flood state? And when do you know when it’s time to abandon the DIY techniques on your water damaged carpet and call for the restoration professionals?
Water Damage Type
The most important consideration when dealing with a water damaged carpet is identifying the source of the water contamination. Experts identify three types of flood water:
• Clean water: Clean water, sometimes called sanitary water, is water that comes from a source like pipes or rain. This water poses no significant risks to human health. If your wet carpet has been damaged by clean water, chances are that the carpet is salvageable. Can you salvage the carpet yourself? That all depends on the size of the leak or the spill.
• Grey water: Grey water is water that comes from appliances like dishwashers and washing machines. Grey water may contain significant chemical or biological contamination. If your wet carpets are due to grey water contamination, it’s time to call in a water restoration service.
• Black water: Black water comes from sewage or ground sources such as rivers, stream and the ocean. Black water carries biological agents that can be the cause of significant illnesses. If your wet carpet has been contaminated by black water, it cannot be restored. The carpet should be discarded as soon as possible.
Restoring a Carpet Yourself After a Minor Flood
If you are able to verify that your wet carpet has been damaged by clean water, then you can proceed with DIY wet carpet water extraction measures. The very first thing you need to do, of course, is to make sure that the source of the water damage has been stopped.
Next, make a disinfectant solution by dissolving two tablespoons of bleach in a gallon of water. Disinfect the wet area of your carpet by scrubbing it with this homemade cleaning solution. Remember to open all doors and windows to the room you’re working in since bleach fumes can be toxic.
Remove all furniture from the carpet. Cut the wet spots out of the carpet with a box cutter, and elevate the remaining ground carpet on cinder blocks. Throw away any wet carpet padding underneath the excised portions of carpet. It cannot be salvaged.
Set up fans that can blow directly on the damaged carpet spots, being careful to keep the fans’ electrical cords away from moisture. If drying isn’t noticeable after 12 hours, you may have to replace the carpet entirely to prevent mold growth.
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