Things You'll Need
Disinfectant carpet cleaner
Large plastic sheets
Whether it's from a simple toilet overflow or a full-blown backed-up sewer system, having your carpet contaminated with sewage is a potentially serious threat to you and your family's health. In fact, the Connecticut Department of Public Health warns that contaminated carpet may lead to both gastrointestinal problems and skin irritation if it not handled correctly. With proper cleaning, you may be able to successfully recover your carpet after a sewage problem.
Clean your carpet immediately. The longer the sewage is allowed to soak into the carpet, the less likely it will be that you can salvage it. If sewage has penetrated your carpet for more than 24 hours, discard the carpet without exception, recommends the website Water and Sewage Cleanup.
Assess how much of your carpet has been affected. If you have experienced a major sewer leak, it may be mpossible to restore your carpet. Smaller problems, however, like toilet water overflowing into a small carpeted area of the next room, can often be treated sufficiently.
Protect your hands with thick rubber gloves to keep bacteria from entering your body. If the flooding is serious, wear protective footwear and safety goggles.
Clean water from the area with a wet vacuum and old towels until you have absorbed as much of the contaminated water as you can. If possible, lift the edge of the carpet and dry both sides of the carpet and padding thoroughly.
Spray the area generously with a disinfectant carpet cleaner. Once again, spray both sides of the carpet and padding if possible.
Work the cleaner into carpet thoroughly with a broom or scrub brush. Repeat multiple times if necessary.
Dry the area immediately with a fan and dehumidifier. Open several doors and windows to allow moisture to escape.
Wrap any affected rugs in plastic and hose them off thoroughly outside. Scrub both sides with a disinfectant carpet cleaner and dry completely before replacing.
Remove carpet completely in the case of a serious leak or overflow. If you wish to keep the same carpet, roll it in plastic and take it to a professional cleaner. Carpet padding should always be replaced, recommends the Washington State Department of Health.
Disinfect any surfaces you come in contact with during the cleaning process. Wash the clothes you were wearing in hot water right away.
- Water and Sewage Cleanup: Suggested Guidelines for Remediation of Damage From Sewage Backflow Into Buildings
- Connecticut Department of Public Health: Sewage Back-Ups--Information for Residents
- North Dakota State University: Cleaning Your Flooded or Water-Damaged Home
- Protect Carpet Cleaning: Flood and Sewage Treatment
Tiffany Bennett is a recent graduate from Toccoa Falls College. While earning her degree in counseling and psychology, she discovered that she enjoys various forms of writing. She is currently living in Athens, Ga., and looking forward to beginning a graduate degree program in international affairs at the University of Georgia.