There can be many methods of cleaning a water damaged carpet. The process will depend on a few different factors, including the type and the extent of the water damage. Restoration efforts should begin as soon as possible after a water leak or flood to help prevent mold growth. First, remove as much excess water from the carpet and padding as possible. Then clean the carpet thoroughly using a disinfectant solution, but spot test it first to make sure it won't cause further damage. Finally, remove the carpet from tack strips and position fans underneath to dry it. This method may work for smaller areas of water damage, but in more severe cases, the carpet may need to be replaced.
One of the most important factors in determining whether a water damaged carpet can be restored is the type of water. Water sources such as a leaking pipe are considered sanitary because they are not likely to contain bacteria or other harmful contaminants. If flooding has been caused by a sanitary source, water damaged carpet can often be restored. Other sources of water such as dishwasher or toilet overflows may be considered unsanitary, meaning that the potential for health hazards is too great and that carpet should be replaced. Carpet damaged by black water, which can come from a sewage backup or flood, almost always needs to be replaced because of the likelihood of contamination.
For smaller areas of damage or flooding caused by sanitary sources, the source of water leakage should be addressed immediately and excess water removed from the carpet. Then a disinfectant solution, such as bleach and water, should be applied to prevent mold growth or other contamination of the carpet. Next, the carpet can be removed from the tack strips and dried using a fan underneath it. Sometimes the baseboards can be removed and holes drilled into the drywall near the floor to help with ventilation. Running a dehumidifier in the room can also help to dry the water damaged carpet faster.
During the drying process, it may help to avoid walking on the wet carpet to prevent staining and further damaging the carpet. Water can sometimes cause the glue backing to separate from carpet fibers, a process called delamination. Also, all furniture should be removed from wet carpet as soon as possible, as any dyes or stains from the furniture can cause staining. The furniture can also be damaged if it absorbs water from the carpet.