Can You Save a Flood Damaged Carpet or Rug?
Short answer? Probably not. It all depends on the source of the flooding, how long it was wet and if it can be effectively cleaned and disinfected.
Ask yourself these questions:
Was the source of the floodwater "clean" like from a burst water pipe or "contaminated" like a backed up toilet or water that came into your home from outside during a storm? If the water that soaked the carpet was clean, you might be able to save it. If the water was contaminated it's unlikely you can save it. Simply drying it won't remove the bacteria that can make people sick, and professional cleaning may not be worth the expense.
How long was the carpet wet? If it was less than 24-48 hours AND the flood water was clean, you can probably have them professionally cleaned. If the carpet was wet for more than 48 hours, regardless of the source of water, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends removal and replacement.
Can the carpet be effectively cleaned and disinfected? Area rugs without foam backing that were soaked with clean water and dried within 48 hours can usually be effectively cleaned. Any area rugs with foam backing should be discarded. Wall to wall carpet is more challenging to thoroughly dry of effectively clean. If it was soaked with clean water and can be completely dried (meaning the carpet AND the flooring underneath) within 48 hours you should be able to clean it. If it's been more than 48 hours, regardless of the source the EPA recommends removal and replacement. Carpet padding should always be replaced as it's nearly impossible to effectively clean.
For more information visit the EPA website.