One of the worst sensations a homeowner can experience is the “squishy” sound and feel of walking on a flooded carpet. In most cases, a water–soaked carpet is a goner. This is especially so if the water came from a flooded stream or a massive storm. These waters carry silt, and possibly sewage from flooded septic systems or overflowing sewage treatment plants. Water that has flowed across pastureland will be similarly contaminated.
If the soaking came from a broken drinking water pipe, an overflowing sink or clothes washer (but not from a backed-up toilet), there MAY be hope. The key element is time: how long was the carpet wet? The longer a carpet is wet; the more time molds have to grow. Less time; less growth. So, if the water source is clean (or nearly so), and you want to try saving that wall-to-wall shag, here are some suggestions:
First, stop the flow of water. Second, remove as of the much water as you possibly can. Use squeegees, mops, towels; anything at all that can get water out of the carpet. Third, use a heavy-duty dryer/de-humidifier to quickly and thoroughly dry out the rug. A hand-held hair dryer isn’t going to cut it!
If you can get the carpet completely dry in a matter of a few hours, you have a good chance of saving it. There will certainly be more mold in the carpeting after the flood than there was before it. Prompt, aggressive action may keep the increase within bounds, so that you won’t detect any “musty odors” or see visible mold. It may, but don’t count on it!