You may not live in an area that is prone to flooding due to natural disasters or environmental events, but there are still instances that could take place inside your home and create flooding, both minor and major.
You may have appliances, for example, that could become broken and start overflowing or leaking, like washing machines, freezers, water dispensers, aquariums and others. A filled bathtub could break for some reason and spill its contents all over the bathroom floor and outside of the room. Your house may have significant storm damage that could cause flooding when a particularly hard rain starts. Or the pipes and tubes in the property could burst and cause sewage to back up.
In any of these instances, the presence of water on your floors is already a dilemma in itself. But this can be magnified even more if your home, like most homes in Australia, has carpeted floors. You need to think about the possible damage that floodwater can do to your carpets, and act fast to prevent as much damage as you possibly can.
When cleaning flooded carpets, Mansfield water damage recovery experts have these four pieces of advice to share:
- You should know the type of liquid that has flooded your property and soaked the carpets. If plain water that overflowed from your bathtub or kitchen sink is the culprit (or perhaps even clean seepage from the basement or lawn runoff), then all that is needed to do would be to dry the carpets off and clean them following general procedures.
However, if the water that soaked your carpets is contaminated sewage, overflows from dishwashers and toilets (with human wastes present), black water (raw sewage), and water from lakes, rivers and seas, you have to automatically assume that the water poses a threat to the entire household’s health. Inform anyone with open wounds or sores to stay away from the flooded area, and for those who will be handling the cleaning, it’s best to use gear like rubber boots and gloves, safety goggles and protective clothing.
Generally, if carpets are soaked by contaminated water, discarding the carpets and rugs is your best option. However, if a decision is made to restore the carpets, then thorough disinfection should be performed by a professional cleaning company.
- The longer you wait to call professionals, the worse the condition of your carpets will become. After 4 hours of being soaked, your carpets will begin to stain from its jute backing. After 8 hours or more, there may be permanent staining on the carpets from the backing, and mould spores will already be forming. After 12 hours, the stains that appeared on the carpet will already be beyond removal. And if you wait more than 24 hours before you address your wet carpets, mould will already be present on surrounding features like walls, floor coverings and skirting boards.
- Let the experts perform thorough water extraction and cleaning services. Water damage recovery specialists will have the right equipment and training for your precise needs. They will have air movers or dryers and humidifiers in place to begin creating the ideal environment for drying out your carpets. This prompt action will ensure that both carpets and flooring are completely dry and that no permanent stains will have set in; the development of moulds will also have been effectively prevented.
- There are measures you can take to clean rainwater-soaked carpets the DIY way. If the floodwater in your home does not appear to be contaminated, you can take steps to begin the drying and cleaning process yourself immediately. Dry the carpet with a humidifier and then vacuum it, and then apply shampoo and repeat the vacuuming process.
If a musty smell is present, your best option would be to sprinkle baking soda over the carpet and work it into the fibres using a broom or sponge mop. Allow the baking soda to remain on the carpet overnight. In the morning, vacuum out the baking soda; make two passes, making sure to move in a different direction on the second pass, so that every inch of the carpet will be vacuumed.