What You Should Know About Water Damage To Carpets And Upholstery

water damage carpet

Types of Damage


The biggest risk of letting soggy carpets and upholstery sit untreated is that it can grow mold. Mold spores seep in from the water or float in on the outside air, and then wait to get wet. Once that happens, it only needs to be incubated in a warm environment for a day before it starts sprouting. It smells bad and it looks gross, but the worst part is that the spores get in people’s lungs, triggering allergies and asthma symptoms. This is especially bad for children.

Water Stains

Carpets and upholstery can acquire stains in a couple of ways, but the dark spots from water are some of the trickiest to remove. The stains come from the minerals in the water getting in the fibers.

First Steps To Cleaning Up Water Damage

Preventing water from sitting on your upholstery or carpet is the best way to keep stains and mold at bay. To do this, soak up extra water with towels and then turn on the air conditioner or run a fan. If the outside air is dry, open the windows to let air circulate over the carpet.

If mold or mildew has grown on the item, you can rub this off using a clean cloth and undiluted vinegar. You can then go over your carpet with a wet/dry vacuum and point a fan at the area.

Small water stains on upholstery can be eliminated too. First, vacuum the upholstery. Dab cool water on the stains with a clean cloth, then cover the stain with paper towels, folded to about an eighth of an inch thick. Point a fan at the papers or run a hair dryer set to ‘cool’ over it. If the stains remain, you can scrub it with rubbing alcohol.

When To Call A Professional

There are 3 categories of water damage, and what category you have comes from the type of water involved. Category 1 is from clean water, such as from a leaking sink. Category 2 is called gray water, and it might come from sources such as broken toilets. It might make people sick if they drink it. Category 3 is called black water and comes from a source such as a sewer. A water damage restoration company should be called as quickly as possible when your carpet and upholstery is flooded with gray or black water, or if the items are soaked through and the water is up to your ankles.  If gray or black water was involved, the potential health risks will have to be mitigated, and the restoration company will have the tools to do that. They can also perform an inspection to make sure the rest of the house wasn’t damaged.

There are a couple of methods that a restoration company can use to prevent water stains and mold from growing on your upholstery and carpet. Steam cleaning, sometimes called a hot-water extraction method, comes highly recommended in many situations. Dehumidification techniques will have to be employed quickly to keep mold spores from growing and furniture from warping. High-speed air movers may be used to evaporate as much water as possible from the fibers. The professionals may leave a dehumidifier on for up to 3 days, depending on how much flooding occurred.

Satin Touch has dealt with water damaged carpets and upholstery for many years and would love to help you. If you would like more information about fighting water damage, please contact us.