How to Clean a Carpet After a Sewer Backup

Jennifer Erchul

Sewer back-ups happen because of various causes, but the cleanup process is the same every time. Because you are dealing with bacteria and filth, take safety precautions and know when to call in the professionals.

Steam clean your carpet to disinfect and remove pathogens

If it is a job you can do yourself, be sure to use protective measures to keep the sewage off your skin and out of your mouth, nose and eyes.


Borrow and rent fans and steam cleaners. This is much cheaper than buying them. Thoroughly clean the hard floor and the carpet. Disinfecting does no good if doing it to a dirty surface. Wash your hands frequently.


If your carpet is fully soiled, call a professional for a consultation. You may need to throw the carpet away. Properly ventilate the room you're working in. You do not want to breath in any cleaning chemical or sewage pathogen.

Clean your carpets after sewage overflow

  1. Put on gloves, eye protection and a face mask to protect yourself from pathogens found in raw sewage.

  2. Line a bucket with a plastic bag. Clear any solid waste off the carpet. Use a shovel or scoop and dump it in a bucket. You can transfer the waste to a larger, outside garbage can as the bucket fills up.

  3. Lift the carpet and the pad. Throw the pad away. After it is contaminated you cannot thoroughly clean or disinfect it. Lay the carpet over a few saw horses. Direct fans on the carpet to blow them dry. Open all windows and turn on a dehumidifier to aid in the drying process.

  4. Scrub and disinfect the floor. Use a solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water, or a commercial cleaning solution like Lysol. Let the floor dry completely before laying down a new pad.

  5. Lay the carpet after it is completely dry. Stretch it if necessary. Use a steam cleaner to clean the carpet, or hire a professional team to thoroughly clean and disinfect it. Position fans on the carpet to assist in the drying and keep the dehumidifier on to reduce the moisture content in the air.