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Dealing with Flood Soaked Carpet

Jul 19, 2008
Carpets soaked by flooding can be damaged severely, especially if it is sitting under standing water for a long period of time. While the contaminated flood water stands in a home for a period of time the carpet on the floor is soaking up the hazardous bacteria from the water. It is very important that standing flood water is removed as quickly as possible from the interior of the house. Even when the water is gone the carpet will be completely saturated.

If the carpet remains wet for long it will develop a very bad smell. This is caused by the bacteria and fungus which has transferred from the flood water to the carpet. The organisms start to decompose the carpet fibers and the decaying mess stinks badly. The real problems ensue when the carpet begins to dry. Mold cannot grow while the carpet is under water but is can and will as soon as the carpet begins to dry causing the bad odor to get stronger. It will not be easy to destroy the mold if it takes hold in the carpet as bleach will discolor the carpet. This will also weaken the fibers of the carpet so much that they may fall off at the slightest touch.

Another issue that becomes worse as the carpet starts to dry is the bleeding and transferring of dye. The dye will become soluble while it sits under water but cannot transfer. When the air reaches the dyed carpet fibers and water particles start to evaporate the dye can spread from one fiber to another. This can leave uneven circles of dye in spots on the carpet. The carpet as a whole will lose enough dye to have a washed out look.

The silt and soil that has attached to the carpet from the flood water will cause another problem. As these materials begin to dry they will adhere to the carpet fibers and dry to something resembling clay. This dirt contains bacteria and fungi which begin to decompose the carpet fibers. The mess is very difficult to remove once it gets to this point.

The carpet can shrink after it begins to dry. It will have expanded with all the water it had retained while it was soaked. This shrinking may be severe enough to cause the carpet to rip apart, especially if the carpet is wall to wall installed carpeting. The best way to prevent tearing is to unfasten the carpet all the way around the room which could cause more damage.

There is very little hope that the carpeting in a flooded house will be salvageable if the area has been covered in a large amount of water. It will most likely have to be removed and replaced. If there is any possibility of saving the carpet, hire a professional cleaning crew to do the work. They will have the proper equipment and knowledge to dry and clean the carpet. It will have to be completely sanitized and disinfected.

Whenever possible it is wise to just have the carpet removed and replaced as this will insure that hazardous bacteria are no longer present in your home.
About the Author
Richard Barthallo's life experiences has made him a legend in Orlando Water Damage Restoration. He has assisted and advised on many Orlando Water Damage extractions and subsequent recoveries.
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