Whenever possible, carpet should be cleaned, rather than replaced, after water damage. In most cases, cleaning the carpet after water damage is not only possible but recommended. In keeping with environmental and community stewardship through reducing, reusing, recycling, and re-purposing, cleaning carpet after water damage, rather than replacing it, is not only an economically prudent decision but an environmentally-friendly and ecologically responsible one as well. This begs the question, should carpets be replaced after water damage?
Water damage does not spell the end of a carpet’s life. Should carpet be replaced after water damage without proper professional evaluation, waste occurs. Depending on the extent of damage and how long carpeting has been saturated, the pad may have to be replaced, but the carpet can still be cleaned. Most of the time, though, we can restore both padding and carpet through proper sanitation, remediation, and cleaning standards.
Carpet should be cleaned after water damage if the carpet’s exposure to water has been limited. Carpets should not be replaced, also, if the water comes from a relatively non-contaminated source. In cases of gray water contamination where water is nearly black water, padding may be beyond sanitation and restoration, but the carpeting can still be cleaned and kept.
Specialists classify water damage to carpets into three main categories. The first two encompass the majority of calls for carpet cleaning related to dampening or flooding of carpets.
1. Clean Water: Carpets should be cleaned after any widespread clean water carpet exposure. This includes dampness from clean water spills over a large area of carpet and saturation from clean water sources. Sources of clean water include leakage from any source that contains drinkable water, but clean water can quickly turn into non-potable water without proper attention.
The fine line between potable and non-potable water depends on the amount of time the clean water has been resting and the concentration of contaminants, such as:
Depending on the density of contaminated water and how long escaped water has been sitting, clean water sources can include water from:
These sources transfer minimal contaminants that can be cleaned and dried through carpet cleaning, restoring carpeting and carpet pads to healthy standards.
Flooding of clean water that has saturated carpet for 24 – 48 hours becomes gray water. Use of environmentally-friendly and biodegradable soap products and cleaners prior to water damage can increase this time.
2. Gray water: Carpets can easily be salvaged after gray water saturation; however, the time window for remediating a gray water spill is limited, before gray water becomes black water, a source of disease-causing bacteria, fungus and other pathogens when carpet should be replaced after water damage.
Sources of gray water include any clean water that has been resting for 48 hours, as well as water from:
Gray water that dwells in place for 24 – 48 hours becomes black water, in which case, we’d be happy to clean your new carpets.
Any water to which a sick household member has been exposed before flooding should be considered black water, no matter how clean or gray the water smells or looks, and carpet should be replaced after water damage in these instances, rather than cleaned.
Sometimes, for health’s sake, carpeting should not be salvaged through restoration and cleaning. Blackwater contamination of carpeting contains too many microscopic pathogens to restore the carpet to its original health standard. Blackwater typically includes floodwaters from sewage backup or storms, old clean and gray water, or any water that has come into contact with fecal matter or other biological contaminants, such as vomit, or heavy metals and chemicals. Should carpets be replaced after water damage with black water, residents should have no further worries, if done professionally.
Carpeting can and should be saved after water damage, not replaced, whenever possible, and it is usually possible. Except in extreme cases of black water flooding, proper restoration and sanitation during carpet cleaning can bring carpets back to life, and not with microorganisms.
In many cases, customers find having their carpets cleaned after water damage leaves carpets looking and feeling even newer than before water damage occurred, with reports of family members feeling healthier after a thorough carpet cleaning. Because we care about your health, never attempt to clean carpets with black water damage, but a call to a professional to evaluate water damage is always better than trying to diagnose water damage yourself.
Call us today for a free evaluation of your water-damaged carpet, and let our experts put your mind at ease!