How to Clean Carpet After a Flood

Flooding can be a devastating experience for any homeowner, and according to epa.gov, it is important to act quickly whenever flood cleanup is necessary. In fact, mold can begin growing within 48 hours of a flood inside of a wet home, posing dangerous health risks to the occupants. Therefore, to save your carpeting, you will need to act quickly. In cases of flooding, it is possible to clean your carpet, but it is important that every measure is taken to ensure that mold spores are removed.

  1. Remove as much water from the carpet as you can using a wet/dry vacuum. It is imperative that you remove any water that is pooling on the surface of the carpet, for the carpet to dry thoroughly.
  2. Roll up the carpeting. The carpet should be lifted from any tack strip that is holding it and rolled up for easy removal from your home. The carpet can then be unrolled and placed outdoors to dry. If outdoor drying is not possible, roll the carpet up and have it dried and cleaned by a professional carpet cleaning company at its shop.
  3. Lift and remove all of the tack strip with a pry bar, along with all of the padding that was underneath the carpeting when the flooding occurred. These two items are very difficult to disinfect properly, so it is better to err on the side of caution by replacing them.
  4. Allow the flooring underneath the padding to dry out thoroughly. Opening the windows and using fans in the area that was flooded can be helpful.
  5. Disinfect the flooring with soap and water. According to cdc.gov, mold spores can be killed with ordinary detergent and warm water, so it is not necessary to use a heavy chemical bleach to clean hard surfaces. Mop the area with a bucket full of warm water and a detergent of your choice, and allow the floor to dry completely.
  6. Reattach the new tack strip and padding to the floor once all of the flooring has completely dried. Once the carpet has completely air dried outdoors, replace it by attaching to the tack strip. Steam clean the carpet with a commercial carpet cleaner to remove any remaining mold spores. It is important to remember that when you are using the steam cleaner, do not oversaturate the carpet. Make sure that the carpet cleaner is powerful enough to suck up all of the water and cleaning solution that it has injected.

Things You Will Need

  • Wet/dry vacuum
  • Pry bar
  • New tack strip
  • New carpet padding
  • Bucket
  • Detergent
  • Mop
  • Floor or ceiling fans
  • Professional carpet cleaning service


  • It is a good idea to do a full inspection of the floor underneath the soaked carpeting to make sure that there isn't any damage, especially if the flooring underneath is wood. Wood that has been oversaturated with water may rot and warp, so you may want to consider replacing the wood in areas that have been subject to excess moisture before replacing the carpeting.


  • According to the Department of Emergency Management Resources at wvu.edu, if flooding was a result of sewage water, it is not advisable to clean your carpeting. Instead, the carpeting should be removed and properly discarded as soon as possible to avoid health hazards.

About the Author

Jonae Fredericks started writing in 2007. She also has a background as a licensed cosmetologist and certified skin-care specialist. Jonae Fredericks is a certified paraeducator, presently working in the public education system.

Photo Credits

  • Jonae Fredericks