How to Clean Carpet After Water Damage

how to clean carpet after water damage

Water damage can wreak havoc on carpets, leading to potential mold growth and structural issues if not addressed promptly. Knowing how to remove carpet stains and discovering the right steps to clean and restore your carpet after water damage is crucial. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore effective methods and essential tips for cleaning carpets affected by water damage.

What is Water Damage to Carpets?

Before initiating the cleaning process, understanding the severity of water damage to carpets is vital. Carpets exposed to water can absorb moisture, leading to potential issues such as mold growth, foul odor, discoloration, and structural damage. Here’s a more detailed exploration of what water damage to carpets entails:

1. Absorption of Water

When carpets are exposed to water, they absorb moisture due to their porous nature. Depending on the severity of the water exposure and the type of water (clean, gray, or black), carpets can retain significant amounts of moisture, leading to potential issues.

2. Mold Growth

One of the most concerning consequences of water damage to carpets is the risk of mold growth. Moisture trapped within the carpet fibers provides an ideal environment for mold spores to thrive. Mold growth not only damages the carpet but also poses health risks to occupants, potentially causing respiratory issues and allergies.

3. Odor Development

Water-damaged carpets can develop unpleasant odors due to the growth of mold, mildew, or bacteria. These odors can persist if not treated promptly and effectively.

4. Structural Weakening

Excessive water exposure weakens the structural integrity of carpets. Prolonged saturation can cause the carpet fibers to weaken, leading to stretching, buckling, or delamination, where the carpet layers separate.

5. Discoloration

Water damage often results in discoloration of carpets. Furthermore, stains caused by water can be from minerals or contaminants in the water, which may leave noticeable marks or blemishes on the carpet fibers.

6. Potential Health Hazards

Water-damaged carpets pose potential health hazards. Mold, mildew, and bacteria thriving in damp carpets can lead to respiratory problems and allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.

7. Deterioration of Carpet Padding

Water damage not only affects the visible carpet but also impacts the padding underneath. Wet padding can break down over time, affecting the carpet’s support and cushioning.

Assessment of Water Damage

Assess the extent of water damage to determine whether the carpet can be salvaged or requires professional assistance. Factors such as the source of water (clean, gray, or black water), the duration of exposure, and the affected area play a crucial role in the restoration process.

Materials Required for Cleaning

Gather the following materials before starting the cleaning process:

  1. Wet/dry vacuum or extraction machine: To remove excess water from the carpet.
  2. Clean towels or cloths: For blotting and drying the carpet.
  3. Mild detergent or carpet cleaner: Example of this is Bissell Professional Pet Stain and Odor Remover, which is suitable for use on water-damaged carpets.
  4. White vinegar: Effective for neutralizing odors.
  5. Baking soda: Cleaning using baking soda helps absorb moisture and eliminate odors.
  6. Fan or dehumidifier: Aids in the drying process.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Clean Carpet After Water Damage

Follow these steps to clean water-damaged carpets effectively:

1: Safety First

Before starting the cleaning process, ensure safety by turning off electricity in the affected area to prevent any potential hazards.

2: Extract Excess Water

Use a wet/dry vacuum or extraction machine to remove as much excess water as possible from the carpet. Run the machine over the wet area multiple times until minimal moisture remains.

3: Blot and Dab

Using clean towels or cloths, gently blot and dab the carpet to absorb remaining moisture. Continue this process until the towels no longer soak up water.

4: Cleaning Solution Preparation

Prepare a cleaning solution by mixing mild detergent or carpet cleaner with water. Test the solution on a small, inconspicuous area of the carpet to ensure it doesn’t cause damage or discoloration.

5: Clean and Rinse

Apply the cleaning solution to the affected area using a sponge or cloth, gently scrubbing the carpet. Rinse the area thoroughly with clean water to remove any residue from the cleaning solution.

6: Odor Removal

For odor removal, mix equal parts of white vinegar and water. Apply the solution to the affected area and let it sit for a few hours before blotting it dry. Sprinkling baking soda on the carpet and leaving it overnight can also help absorb odors.

7: Drying Process

Utilize fans, open windows, or use a dehumidifier to expedite the drying process. Ensure the carpet is completely dry to prevent mold growth or further damage.

8: Professional Assistance

If the water damage is extensive or if you’re uncertain about handling the cleaning process, consider seeking professional help to ensure thorough restoration of your carpet.

cleaning a carpet

Dos and Don’ts When Cleaning Water-Damaged Carpets


  1. Start the cleaning process as soon as possible after water damage occurs to prevent further absorption and potential mold growth.
  2. Determine the type of water that caused the damage (clean, gray, or black water) to understand the potential health risks and the necessary cleaning approach.
  3. Prioritize safety by turning off electricity in affected areas to avoid potential hazards.’
  4. Use a wet/dry vacuum or extraction machine like Shop-Vac 12-Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum to remove as much excess water as possible from the carpet.
  5. Gently blot and dab the carpet with clean towels or cloths to absorb remaining moisture.
  6. Use fans or dehumidifiers to facilitate faster drying and prevent mold growth.
  7. Use mild detergents or carpet cleaners specifically designed for water-damaged carpets. Moreover, test the solution on a small area first to ensure compatibility.
  8. After cleaning, rinse the carpet thoroughly with clean water to remove any residue from the cleaning solution.
  9. Ensure the carpet is completely dry to prevent mold and mildew growth. Use fans, open windows, or dehumidifiers to expedite the drying process.


Avoid delaying the cleaning process, as prolonged exposure to moisture increases the risk of mold growth and structural damage.

  1. Refrain from using harsh cleaning chemicals or cleaners that may damage carpet fibers or exacerbate the damage caused by water.
  2. Avoid vigorous rubbing or scrubbing, as it can spread the damage or push water and contaminants deeper into the carpet fibers.
  3. Do not overlook the importance of thorough drying. Inadequate drying can lead to persistent moisture, fostering mold growth and odors.
  4. Refrain from using high-temperature settings on carpet cleaning equipment, as excessive heat can damage carpet fibers.
  5. For extensive water damage or uncertainty in handling the cleaning process, seek professional assistance to ensure proper restoration.

Water-damaged carpets require immediate attention and proper cleaning to prevent long-term damage and health hazards. By following these steps and acting promptly, you can effectively restore your carpet after water damage and know how to properly clean your carpet, preserving its appearance and integrity for years to come. Remember, quick action is key to minimizing damage and ensuring a successful carpet restoration process.

About Hellamaid

Hellamaid is a top-rated cleaning company in Canada that’s changing the cleaning industry. When we’re not cleaning, we’re sharing helpful content to help clients, communities, and cleaners feel happier, healthier, and safer!

We’ve been featured on Yahoo, Forbes, Redfin, New York Post, Martha Stewart, Homes&Gardens, WikiHow, and more.

Connect with Us

For content collabs or ideas, please email us at [email protected]

hellamaid cleaning company team

Hellamaid is a top-rated cleaning company in Canada that’s changing the cleaning industry. Led by two engineers, Ahmed and Abdul,  Hellamaid is on a mission to make cleaning services a better experience for both ends of the market: homeowners and cleaners. We offer value to homeowners through easy online booking and impeccable customer service, while offering a flexible and well paid opportunity to our cleaning partners. We proudly serve the cities of Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Ottawa and more. Visit our service area pages or learn more about our story!

Interested in contributing to our blog, or seeking our expertise? Let’s collaborate and create valuable content together! Contact us today