How To Dry a Wet Carpet to Avoid Mold Growth: 2 DIY Steps

Last Updated on December 7, 2020 by Diana Rodriguez-Zaba

Carpets aren’t supposed to get wet, so you know that you’ve got a problem on your hands when water suddenly soaks the floor. Whether you’re dealing with ruptured pipes or storm flooding in the basement, that fiber and padding need attention right away. Why?

Because time isn’t on your side.

Since wet carpets cause mold to grow in as little as 24 to 48 hours, you need an action plan. we’ve outlined the two do-it-yourself methods for the fastest way to dry wet carpet.

How to Clean Small Areas

Even if wet carpet is limited to a small area, it’s still very important to address the moisture as quickly as possible.

You can often take care of it without heavy equipment, but the job requires old–fashioned scrubbing. Follow these steps to clean and dry small areas of damp carpet and discourage mold.


• Towels or old newspapers
• Baking soda
• White vinegar
• Scrub brush
• Antifungal spray

1. Spread towels over wet areas, and apply pressure. As they pick up moisture, replace them with dry towels, and repeat the process removing as much water as possible.

2. Sprinkle baking soda over damp spots, leave it in place overnight, and then vacuum. This helps absorb any residual moisture and also controls odors.

3. Lightly spray the area with white vinegar to combat mold growth. Scrub vigorously with a stiff brush, and then blow dry the treated carpet.

4. Follow up with an antifungal spray specifically formulated for carpets. Don’t confuse these products with cleaners meant for bathrooms and kitchens.

5. Ventilate the area for several days by running the AC and setting up fans in the room to circulate fresh air. Vacuum one last time to remove any trace of products and moisture.

Power Tip: Test products on an unobtrusive area before use to make sure that they won’t discolor the carpet.

Tackling an Entire Room

Don’t ever attempt to use a regular vacuum cleaner on a soaking wet carpet. The mix of water and electricity poses a serious threat to your personal safety. Instead, rent the necessary equipment, and read all accompanying documentation that outlines safe operation. Most home improvement centers carry everything you need to remove water from wet carpets and address mold growth.


• Large wet-dry vacuum
• Window and table fans
• Dehumidifying units
• Carpet steam cleaner

1. Remove all furniture from the room, and check everything for signs of water damage. If possible, turn furnishings over so that legs and bases can thoroughly dry.

2. When using a wet-dry vacuum, make sure that it’s set to “dry” before you get started. As you work, slowly make multiple passes over soaked carpets in straight lines from wall to wall.

Power Tip: To avoid a mess, empty the vac’s water canister before it becomes full.

3. Set up dehumidifying equipment, run the AC, and position window and table fans inside the area to create fresh air crosscurrents. Allow several days to complete the drying process.

water dehumidifying air mover
Dehumidifying unit with air movers do most of the work for you.

Power Tip: Keep fans and dehumidifying units off wet carpets to avoid electrical shock.

4. When carpets are completely dry, treat them with a steam cleaner using solutions specifically designated for carpet care and mold control. Finish with a final clear water rinse.

Power Tip: Use carpet cleaning solutions with a pH balance of l0 or less to preserve colors and fibers.

5. Repeat the drying process with fans, the AC and dehumidifying equipment. Depending on the weather, opening windows in the room can speed up drying time.

Preventing Carpet Mold Growth

Water damage to carpets never happens on a schedule that fits your busy timetable. When affected areas stay wet for more than 24 hours, mold quickly takes hold, and that makes DIY strategies less effective. Standing water saturates carpet padding, underlayment, sub-flooring and baseboards, so it’s very difficult to completely dry things out with conventional methods.

Before starting the cleanup process, take a realistic assessment of your carpet’s water damage. You can save time and hard work by calling in a professional service. A restoration contractor uses heavy-duty equipment to quickly remove water, completely dry affected areas and immediately address mold growth. Expert water extraction and mold remediation can also save the expense of replacing water-damaged carpets.

We’re at Your Service

water damage repair pro

Wet carpets and mold cleanup are often just a small part of water damage repair, so you might decide that the job of carpet water removal for Chicago home is too big. Just let us know if you need more information through our Comments Section. We’re always happy to share our experience and industry knowledge.

If you suspect that a carpet mold problem has gotten out of hand, ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba offers expert mold testing in Chicago and the suburbs. Our professional services include complete water damage restoration for homes and business owners. We’re at your service 24/7, so just give us a call.