Can You Save Water Damaged Rugs?

Water damage is very serious when it happens to your rugs. If you’re very lucky, you would spot water damage happening as it was not happening in a concealed area. But often, if it is due to a leaky pipe, tap, or dripping air conditioning vent, water damage is not noticeable until the drip has been ongoing for a long time, until it starts spreading throughout the rug. In that case, the water has been soaking the rug for a long time, weakening the fibers of the rug and also allowing for mold and mildew to set in, causing the air quality in your home or office to drop considerably and potentially harm the health of your family or co-workers. The worst case of course is when rugs and other personal possessions become severely wet due to flooding. When your rugs are damaged by water, can they be salvaged? Here’s our take on what you can do to save water damaged rugs, depending on various factors.

Type Of Water

One important question that professionals will ask or check for when inspecting rugs damaged by water is whether the damage was caused by clean or contaminated water. If the water is clean, such as that from a burst pipe, there is a high chance that you can still save it. However, if your rug was dirtied by storm water coming in from outdoors where there is a ton of dirt and soil, or water from a clogged toilet for example, it is recommended that you throw away the rug as it is contaminated. Professional cleaning is usually not worth the expense to attempt to restore rugs from this kind of contamination.

Length Of Time Soaked

A rug that has been soaked in water for more than 48 hours would have a high chance of posing a serious health hazard. EPA, FEMA, CDC and other remediation standards recommend that you remove and replace your rug in that case, so as to prevent mold, bacteria and other toxins from taking hold in your space. While removing these items, it is crucial that you wear eye protection and breathing masks, as well as rubber gloves. On the other hand, a rug that was wet for less than 48 hours would likely benefit from a cleaning and disinfecting by a professional carpet cleaner.

Type Of Rug

One other thing you can check is if your area rug uses foam backing or not. For area rugs without foam backing, which got soaked with clean water and were dried within 48 hours, they can usually be effectively cleaned with no problems. Depending on the type of rug also, it may require hot water extraction and deep cleaning to really get it in a good condition. However, area rugs with foam backing should generally be thrown away as long as it gets soaked. For wall-to-wall carpets, these are difficult to dry or clean properly, especially if you try to do it yourself. Your best bet is to call a professional carpet cleaning service to see what best can be done for your rug.


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