How to Dry Carpet Fast

Need help taking care of a wet carpet fast? Follow this guide to dry wet carpets quickly, and to find out what homeowners insurance does and doesn’t cover.
Written by Kathryn Mae Kurlychek
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Updated on Oct 21, 2022
Whether you’re facing a simple spill or serious flooding, you won’t want to delay in drying your carpet. But before you call a carpet cleaning company, try these at-home hacks to clean and dry wet carpet fast. 
From basement floods to burst pipes, facing water damage is an unavoidable part of home ownership. But if your carpet gets wet, you’ll want to take immediate action. Wet carpet can cause damage to the flooring beneath—not to mention its moldy, musty, and mildewy side effects. 
That’s why
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for car insurance comparison, has put together this handy guide on how to dry wet carpet fast. We’ll walk you through the dos and don’ts of drying your wet carpet, when to call a professional carpet cleaner, plus ways you can save on
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Why do you need to dry wet carpet fast? 

Wet carpets can cause more than just some squishy fibers between your toes. If left unattended, a wet carpet can cause damage to the carpet padding and flooring beneath. In serious cases, water damage can even permeate your home’s subflooring. 
Additionally, moisture that’s trapped in your carpet fibers can quickly breed mold and mildew—toxins that are known to cause unhealthy living conditions in the home. Even if you don’t notice a wet area on your floor, watch out for these signs:
  • Musty odors
  • Increased allergy symptoms
  • Recurring illnesses in family members or pets
  • Discoloration of carpeting 
If you notice any of the above happening in your home, it could be that a wet carpet is to blame. You’ll want to act fast to address wet carpets. If left to linger, they could cause serious problems. 

How to dry wet carpet fast

Let’s say you spilled a glass of water on your carpet, or your dog knocked over the water bowl. Or maybe you just noticed a leak that’s been damaging an unattended corner of your home—including the carpet. Assuming the cause of your wet carpet is a clean water source (e.g. a burst pipe), you should follow these tips for drying your wet carpet fast. 

Remove excess moisture 

First thing first: you’ll need to stop any existing water flow. If the water is coming from something like a burst pipe, you’ll want to address that first—after all, you can’t adequately dry your wet carpet until the source has been stanched! 
Once that’s taken care of, you’ll want to get rid of the worst of the water.
You can remove excess water from your carpet using a wet vacuum (commonly called a “wet vac”), which is a type of vacuum specifically made to aid in removing excess moisture from carpets. In most cases, wet vacs are relatively cheap (you can find them on Amazon starting at around $50). You can also rent one from a local hardware store, a home improvement store, or a professional carpet cleaning company. 
You should never use a regular vacuum cleaner to vacuum up water from your carpet. Normal vacuum cleaners aren’t designed to take in water—and it can be dangerous to try! 
Pro Tip No time for a wet vac? Try laying down dry towels instead. You can even break out a hairdryer to blow warm air on the affected carpet! 

Generate airflow 

The next step to drying your wet carpet is to start generating airflow. Circulating fresh air will speed up the process of removing excess moisture from your carpet, and also help get rid of any foul odors lingering in the area. Fresh air also plays an important role in preventing the spread of mold and mildew
Turn on ceiling fans or bring in standing fans to blow air on the affected area; open windows and doors; or even break out a dehumidifier to speed up the drying process. Make sure that any electrical appliances (like your fan or dehumidifier) are plugged in somewhere clean and dry. 

Replace carpet padding

In most cases, replacing the carpet padding is an essential next step in the drying process. You should always lift your carpet padding as part of the drying process, but if the water damage is anything more than mild, you’ll need to replace the pad to prevent any mold growth. 
While replacing the carpet padding may feel like a pain, it’s a small expense compared to the larger consequences a moldy carpet pad can have on both your health as well as the structural integrity of your home. 

Steam clean 

Once you’ve removed as much water as possible, it’s time to steam clean. Steam cleaning can kill toxins and contaminants trapped in your wet carpet, and will also get rid of any lingering odors. You can buy or rent a steam cleaner, or call a professional cleaning company to come steam clean your carpet for you. 

Use baking soda 

Another helpful hack for deodorizing your carpet is sprinkling baking soda on the affected area. Baking soda also works wonders on pulling up moisture—and you can buy it right at the grocery store!
Sprinkle a liberal amount of baking soda on your affected carpet and let it sit for at least 30 minutes before vacuuming it up. 

Clean and disinfect other room surfaces

It’s easy to get lost in the many, tedious steps of addressing your wet carpet problem—but don’t forget to clean and disinfect other surfaces in the room! To keep mold and mildew from spreading, you’ll want to attend to your floor’s baseboards, along with any furniture in the room that may be located on or near the affected area. 

When to call a professional carpet cleaning company 

In cases of mild or moderate water damage, you’ll likely be able to take care of the issue without spending money on a professional carpet cleaning company. The exception comes with major water damage—such as flooding—along with water damage caused by an unclean water source, such as a sewage leak or flooding caused by a natural disaster. 
Only a professional cleaning company will be able to do the job of removing harmful contaminants like those found in wastewater from your home’s carpet. 
Here are some other instances when we’d recommend calling in a professional’s carpet cleaning services: 
  • If the water is gray or black
  • If the water is a result of flooding
  • If the water came from a burst pipe in your shower or sink 
  • If bad odors, mold, or mildew persists
  • If allergy symptoms or frequent illnesses persist

Carpet damage and home insurance 

Most of the time, homeowners insurance includes coverage for water-damaged floors (including damaged carpets) so long as the cause is included as a
named peril
on your policy. For instance, carpet damage caused by a flood is likely to be covered. 
On the other hand, if the water damage was due to something else—like a bathtub overflow or a window left open during a rainstorm—you likely won’t find any coverage extended. 
Whenever water damage occurs, be sure to document the damage with pictures that you can provide along with your home insurance claim. This will help your provider know the extent of the damage to your home, and provide you with a more accurate estimate of what will be covered. 

Find quality home insurance the easy way

Water damage in your home can be a serious headache—but having a good home insurance policy can make all the difference. If you’re not sure what type of
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