How to dry wet carpet and eliminate that moldy smell
Drying Wet Carpet
TDS Reader Contributors
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Saving a Wet Carpet
I wanted to know if anybody knows how to get a mildew/moldy smell out of a carpet. My drain tub for the laundry overflowed, causing my son's bedroom carpet to get wet. I think it went more into the padding. I was thinking of either shampooing the carpet or cutting the section out and replacing it. Does anybody know of any good suggestions for drying wet carpet? And once the carpet dries, is it possible to get the smell out? Any help would be appreciated.
Dry Carpet Immediately
Dealing with wet carpet, especially padding, is a situation that needs immediate response for health reasons. Once mold is present in the carpet and padding, the best advice is to discard these items. Mold can and will pose various respiratory illnesses. While one may feel frustrated at the cost of removing the floor coverings (especially the padding), in the long run you will be much better off.
The most important action taken in a flooding is to locate the source and act quickly to remove the water. Depending on the humidity, temperature, and dew point levels will determine how quickly mold will develop (24-36 hours in ideal conditions). Certain steps can greatly help to eliminate mold growth.
- Lower the humidity and temperature with the use of many commercial floor fans and dehumidifiers, while setting A/C levels to coldest settings.
- Tenting one's carpet to allow much needed airflow.
Spreading Mule Team Borax tends to slow and even kill mold spores, while being gentle on carpet fabric. The key is to act quickly making every effort to stop this hazard of mold in one's house.
Homeowner's Insurance May Cover Wet Carpet
Have her check into her homeowner's policy and see if it covers things like that! Our sump pump overflowed in our family room and our homeowner's policy covered getting our carpet professionally cleaned.
Good as new!
Arm and Hammer Takes Out Smell
How to dry the wet carpet can be the easy part. The smell can be a little trickier unless you use this easy tip! To get the smell out of your carpet (and even moisture) spread a considerable amount of Arm and Hammer baking soda on the carpet and leave it on there for one or a couple of days. Then vacuum it up. The smell should be gone. Works great and the smell is not masked by perfume.
Diatomaceous Earth Absorbs Wetness
No matter what the cause, if smell is going to be the problem, Diatomaceous Earth (sometimes also known as Cat-Sand) is the only answer. This product is available on the cheap from almost any bulk supplier such as pet stores, COSTCO, and Orchard Supply Hardware. Check the package to make sure that you're getting diatomaceous earth and not something else.
When your carpet is flooded, try to remove as much of the water as possible by using a Wet-Vac. Then apply the diatomaceous earth liberally to the carpet. As it absorbs the liquid, move it around with a rake or a broom to make sure the wetness has as much exposure to fresh sand as possible, until no more wetness is noted. Then, sweep it up and store for the next use. The method works for vomit, cat fur-balls, animal "accidents", etc., on any carpets, including auto carpets. Just remove the solids first. If a stain results, use any stain remover product.
editor's note: diatomaceous earth should not be inhaled. You should use a dust mask and keep pets and children away while using it.
What a Janitor Would Use
I have the perfect solution for drying wet carpet and getting rid of that moldy smell. The janitorial supply stores in your town will have a protein eater type of spray or liquid to get out the smell, works great on milk, etc, too. First, lift the carpet, cut out the old padding if mildewed, bleach the floor underneath too. Next, replace the padding with a scrap from a carpet layer (call a store or visit their dumpster). Finally, treat the bottom and top of the carpet with the protein eater, let dry, lay carpet back down and stuff underneath the baseboard with a knife or putty knife blade.
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