How to Dry a Wet Basement Carpet

Carpet in a basement with a couch.
  • 48 hours
  • Beginner
  • 75-100
What You'll Need
Baking soda
Sponges or rags
Utility knife
Carpet cleaning machine

Wet basements can be the result of flooding, a burst pipe, or a sump pump problem. Carpet that has become wet must be dried within 48 hours, or mold can begin to grow, which will leave the carpet unsalvageable. If you need to clean a carpet that has become wet, these eight steps will help you restore your carpet to a usable condition.

Step 1 - Access the Damages

Whether your basement has become entirely soaked with water or there are just a few damp spots, you must first determine exactly what areas of your basement have been damaged. Examine your carpeted areas carefully for mold or mildew that might have begun growing in your carpet, even if your carpet is only mildly wet.

Step 2 - Enlist the Help of Others

Whether you call on immediate family members, neighbors, or friends, it would be a good idea to ask for help in the cleanup of your basement. It is a job that will undoubtedly be more than you will want to handle by yourself.

Step 3 - Move Furniture

A basement with carpet.

Move your furniture to a dry side of the room or to another area of your basement to allow you to pull up the carpet for drying.

Step 4 - Get Rid of Damaged Items

If you have items that have been damaged, such as newspapers, magazines, books, or toys, dispose of them. Don’t take the chance that the flood waters may have contaminated them. If you think some of your possessions might be salvageable, do your best to clean them or have them cleaned professionally. Of course, if mildew or mold has begun to grow on things, you must discard them.

Step 5 - Get Rid of Flood Water

Get rid of as much water as possible by either soaking it up with sponges or rags, or if you have a high degree of flooding, rent a vacuum designed to pull water from your floor.

Step 6 - Pull Up Wet Carpeting

A basement with a pool table.

Pull up areas of carpeting that have been soaked or that are wet. You will also need to pull up the carpet padding that is wet. If possible, move your wet carpet to an outside area or an area where it can get plenty of air. Make a tent-like form with your carpet so air will reach both the top and bottom layers and will dry it more thoroughly.

Step 7 - Clean the Carpet

Once the carpet and padding have completely dried, lay them on the floor. You may need professional help from carpet layers to be sure your carpet is relaid properly. Once the carpets are in place, clean them with a carpet cleaning machine, or have a professional carpet cleaner do the cleaning for you.

Step 8 - Remove Odors

If small odors remain in the carpet after it is cleaned, sprinkle baking soda on the areas where the odor is strong. Let it sit for awhile, then vacuum it up.