Can you Save a Flood Damaged Carpet or Rug?

The short answer is probably no. Wet carpets from clean water like from pipe leaks can be cleaned if the carpet itself is clean. Whether you can save a flood-damaged rug or carpet depends on the source of the flooding, how long it was wet, and if it can it be effectively cleaned and disinfected.

EPA, FEMA, CDC and other standards for remediation recommend removal and replacement if your carpet was soaked with water that was contaminated (like water that entered your house from the street during a storm that might contain sewage) OR if your carpet remained wet for more than 48 hours. Flood damaged carpeting can pose serious health hazards from mold, bacteria, and other toxins. It is important to wear eye and respiratory protection as well as rubber gloves if you are around these materials.

Still not sure about your situation? Here are some basic questions to help you decide whether to keep or throw out your carpeting and rugs:

1) Was the source of the floodwater “clean” (like from a burst water pipe) or “contaminated” (like a backed up toilet or water that came into your house from outside during a storm)?

2) How long was the carpet or rug wet?

3) Can the carpet or rug be effectively cleaned and disinfected?

For more information:

EPA: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-09/documents/floods.pdf
American Lung Association: http://www.lung.org/about-us/media/press-releases/proper-post-flood-cleanup.html

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