Did you know that on average, our carpet contains at least 200,000 bacteria per square inch? That’s 4,000 times more bacteria than we can find on a toilet seat! This number increases exponentially in carpets soiled during a flood. Hence the unpleasant odour that often accompanies carpets in need of restoration. Flooded carpets, therefore, pose a health risk if not restored properly and quickly.
Wait! Don’t throw out that carpet!
Carpet restoration is possible, however, it must be done correctly otherwise you risk further damage to the carpet. Many people are quick to throw out their ruined carpets without a second thought. However, it is potentially more expensive to buy a new carpet than to restore the old one.
So, how do you go about restoring flooded carpets? Follow our step-by-step DIY guide to get the job done as thoroughly and as expertly as possible.
1. Remove water from flooded carpets quickly
Tool required: Dry or wet vacuum
If you have any hope of restoring your flooded carpets you need to get rid of the water that’s in these carpets as soon as possible. This is critical for carpets flooded by sewage water. Left untreated, these carpets will develop moulds and odours that might be impossible to remove once they’re established.
Wet/dry vacuums will suck up as much water as they can, thereby reducing the amount of moisture in the carpets. These are the preferred tools for removing water from spoiled carpets. If you don’t have access to such a vacuum, try and see if you can hire one from companies that offer carpet cleaning services.
2. Speed up the drying process with fans and dehumidifiers
Tools required: Grade fans and dehumidifiers
Vacuums are not able to completely remove all the water. This is why in our next step we employ grade fans or high-power drying fans. For quicker results, hang your carpet in an upright position and allow the fan to blow air towards the carpet. You may need to keep the fans on for several days to ensure that the carpets are really dry on the inside.
To further speed up the drying process you’ll also want to use a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the air. These two machines can be used in sync or you may use the fans first, and then turn the dehumidifiers on after that. Once again, dehumidifiers and grade fans may be purchased or rented from your local hardware stores.
3. Sanitize carpets by steam cleaning
Tools required: Regular vacuum and steam cleaner
Now that we’ve got the water out of the carpets, it’s time to sanitize them and make them ready for use again. We do this by steam cleaning them.
Before steam cleaning, however, run your regular vacuum over the carpet. Do this is in a slow and methodical manner. This helps to remove any lingering dirt and dust that may have settled on the carpet following the fanning in step 2.
The steam cleaner is designed to give your carpet a good old-fashioned deep cleaning. It will reach those deeper stained areas and sanitize them. Talk to a carpet cleaning company and ask them to help you select the right detergent to use in this delicate situation. If, however, you’re allergic to chemicals and prefer a more natural cleaning agent, opt for vinegar. Mix your vinegar with hot water in a 50/50 ratio and use this
mixture instead in your steam cleaning.
4. Eliminate the mildew smell
Product required: Chlorine bleach
Sanitizing of carpets should be the final step in restoring flooded carpets. However, there are some carpets which may have been left unattended too long post-flood. Such carpets have a tendency of developing mildew odours. These carpets even after sanitizing them may very well need a little bit more TLC. And this comes in the form of a carpet deep-clean with chlorine bleach.
In a bucket, mix 1.5 cups of bleach with 4 litres of water. Give the carpet a good scrub. It’s also worth noting that the mildew smell might be originating from the padding which sits underneath the carpet. In this case, the padding should be completely removed and thrown away, and the floor beneath it given a thorough hard-scrub with detergent and water.
5. Prevent future microbial growth
Product needed: AEGIS Anti-microbial Shield
By now, your carpet should almost be as good as new. However, before placing it back where it belongs, we’re going to share a little industry secret with you. Prevent future microbial growth by generously sprinkling some AEGIS Anti-microbial Shield over the carpet. Not only will this give a pleasant smell to the carpet, but it will hamper the growth of any potential bacteria.
A few handy tips
Now that you’ve got the basics down, here are a few more handy tips and cautions before you proceed:
· Remove the carpet from the floor where possible and hang it outside for some time to let as much flood water drip out first before vacuuming.
· And speaking of vacuums, never, ever use your ordinary house vacuum to remove water from your carpet.
· Also, never use any electrical machines while you’re standing on top of the wet carpet. This is why we suggest that you hang the carpet in an upright manner while you work on it.
· If your carpet is tacked down, don’t attempt to remove it yourself without professional help as this could damage the carpet’s backing.
DIY carpet restoration made easy
Carpet restoration, as you have seen can be done at home. Equipped with the right set of tools and products, you’ll be able to dry, sanitize and restore your own carpets following flooding. We recommend that you gather all the tools that you need before you begin work. If you need to rent out fans, dehumidifiers and steam cleaners secure these first and then begin the task at hand. Guided by these steps, you’ll be able to restore your own carpet like a pro!