When severe water damage occurs, carpets cannot simply be restored by putting a cloth over them to soak up the water. After the initial damage occurs and the area is dried out, you will find that there is a lingering odor in the carpet. Not only is this unpleasant, but it is also a health hazard for those that live in, and visit, the home. If you wait to take care of the damage, it can cause more of an issue in the future. Of course, you should speak with your homeowner’s insurance to see if carpet damage is covered with your claim, and a public adjuster if you feel that you have been treated unfairly, or “brushed off” by them, before starting any repairs yourself. If you do begin to take care of the issue on your own, take photos of the before, during, and after, and save your receipts.
Typically, getting the musty, mildew smell out of the carpet is easy. This is especially the case if the area in question was flooded.
The steps below will help you in your odor eliminating endeavor:
- Make sure the area is completely dry. The musty, mildew, smell that you are smelling is caused by moisture. This means, whether you know it or not, the area suffered water damage in the past. Try to dry out the area completely. If you find that your efforts are fruitless, contacting water damage professional could be your best option. During the process, they may suggest replacement instead of restoration, based on the severity of the damage and the length of time since the incident.
- Vacuum the affected area. When the carpet is dry, debris can be removed by vacuuming the carpet. Keep in mind that you will want to use a powerful vacuum cleaner to ensure that all dust is removed from the area.
- Create a vinegar and water solution for the carpet. It is a long-known fact that white vinegar can be used to eliminate stubborn odors. The mixture should include one part vinegar to every two parts of water. Spraying the mixture with a spray bottle is the best option in order to create a light layer over the carpet. Do not over-saturate the area, as it can trigger more mildew!
- Put a layer of baking soda over the carpet. This helps to neutralize the odor, and won’t harm the area.
- Take a break. Wait a couple of hours, or even overnight, to see if it worked. Vacuum the area again to remove the baking soda from the area, and allow the area to air out. This should take care of the musty, mildew smell.
If you find that there is still a lingering smell, you can use a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water. Use one part hydrogen peroxide for every five parts of water. This will not only mitigate the odor but also help to reduce any mold spores that could be hiding below. A spray bottle works best. You can complete the same steps that you did with the above method, with this solution instead of the vinegar solution.
It is a good idea to use a foam carpet shampoo after using either of the above methods, as they typically have a pleasant aroma, and will also ensure that the carpet is free from the solutions used to get rid of the musty, mildew, odor.
If you find that after doing all of the above, there is still an unpleasant odor, it is time to call a professional! Mold remediation specialists are able to come in and assess your damage and let you know if there is any hope for your carpet. Commercial grade solutions offer a better chance of removing the musty, mildew, odor if the technician feels that the carpet can be saved.
It is important to note that with water damage, comes mold. Different types of mold can be harmful to your health and will need to be removed by a professional. If you think that the water damage that you have incurred could have resulted in mold damage, call a professional immediately for the safety of yourself and your family.