Whether your carpeting got water damage from a washing machine that overflowed or from a major hurricane or flood, it's important to dry wet carpets right away: Carpets that sit damp or wet for an extended period of time can develop mildew and mold growth. This not only smells and looks terrible, but it could also lead to possible health risks for you and your family. It is best to deal with a wet carpet as quickly as possible so that the moisture and mold don't permanently damage the carpet padding or the subfloors underneath.
Instead of paying for an expensive carpet cleaning company to come in and do the job for you, attempt to dry the carpeting out yourself by using good-old fashioned baking soda and some tools to help you remove the standing water or moisture from the surface.
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Here's a step-by-step breakdown on how to dry your carpeting using baking soda:
1. Open the Windows
To increase the airflow in the home (and lend to the carpets drying), open windows in the rooms where the carpeting is wet.
2. Run a Dehumidifier
Dehumidifiers are great tools to reduce moisture in the affected area. Essentially, the dehumidifier will intake damp, moist air, turn it into condensation, and collect the water. Run the dehumidifier during the entire water extraction process as well as several days afterwards, just to ensure that all of the excess moisture from the room has been collected.
3. Use a Wet Vacuum
Run a wet vacuum over the wet or damp area of the carpet to bring up as much of the water as possible. Remove as much water as you can until the carpet is only damp and excess water doesn't come up when you press down.
4. Sprinkle Baking Soda Liberally
Sprinkle a large amount of baking soda over the damp carpet. Depending on the size of the damp carpet, you may need to use more than one canister of baking soda. Let the baking soda sit on the carpet for a minimum of 30 minutes to allow it ample time to soak up the remaining moisture and odor from the carpet.
5. Vacuum the Baking Soda
Give the carpeting a thorough vacuuming with a regular vacuum.
When to Call a Professional Carpet Cleaner
If you've followed this step-by-step process and are still dealing with carpet smells or wet spots on the carpeting, you should call a professional carpet cleaning company right away. They will examine your flooring to determine whether or not you could salvage the carpeting with a hot water steam cleaning or if you need to just replace it entirely.