How to Clean Wet Carpets

The sink has overflowed, the bathtub has leaked or some other water accident has soaked your carpets. Take immediate action to clean your wet carpet. Your carpet will need water removal, airing and odor control. Mold and mildew can grow in wet carpets if they are not cleaned and dried promptly.

Extract the liquid from wet carpet to prevent mold.

Don't move rugs and furnishings back into place unless the water is completely dried to prevent long-term problems.


Wear gloves when working with wet carpet.

  1. Determine if you can clean your water-soaked carpet, or if you need professional help. A small amount of water can be handled by the homeowner. If you do not have fans and a wet-dry vacuum to dry out your carpets, call a professional. Wet carpets and pads can lead to costly mold and mildew problems.

  2. Remove area rugs or other items that are wet and move them outside. If your carpet is not glued down, take it outside and lay it out on your driveway or patio to dry. Be sure your carpet is completely dry before bringing it back into the house.

  3. Open your windows and turn on your fans as soon as you discover that your carpets are wet. Turn on your ceiling fans and position freestanding fans so air blows across your wet carpet. Turn on your air conditioner as well. Rent large fans made just for carpet drying from carpet cleaners or a local rental shop. Leave the fans running until your carpet is completely dry.

  4. Pull moisture from your carpet with a wet vacuum. You can also use a carpet shampoo machine without adding water to extract water from your wet carpet.

  5. Sop water from the carpet with heavy towels if only a small area of carpet is wet. Lay the towels on the carpeting. Step on the towels to help wick the water away from the carpet. Continue until the towels are saturated.

  6. Check your carpet pad. If your carpet pad is spongy and has absorbed a lot of water, remove and replace it. If the carpet pad is waterlogged, it may be very heavy to carry and you will need to cut it in small manageable pieces.

  7. Clean the bare floors with a bleach and water solution to inhibit mold growth if you removed your carpet and pad. Wait until the floor is completely dry before reinstalling carpeting.