How to Dry Out a Damp Carpet - Complete Guide

We challenge you to come up with one of the worst scenarios a homeowner can find himself in. We’ll help you – a completely damp, messy carpet.

Imagine you return home after a long day’s work, only to discover that your once-shiny carpet is now soggy and smell gross, all thanks to an accidental leak from a burst pipe or malfunctioning appliance.

Not a pleasant sight, right?

A damp carpet can be a homeowner’s nightmare not only for its unsightly appearance but also for the potential damage it can cause to your flooring. 

But fear not! In this comprehensive guide, we will show you a simple approach to drying out a damp carpet.

So, roll up our sleeves and get ready to turn this situation around and preserve your carpet.

drying out a damp carpet

Let’s cover how to dry out a damp carpet step by step. 

1. Figure Out the Cause of the Damage

There could be multiple causes of water damage that affected your carpet. Here’s how to figure out what caused yours:

  1. Inspect the Affected Area: Start by thoroughly examining the damaged area. Trace the water back to its source or as close to it as possible. Sometimes leaks originate from behind the walls or under the floors. Look for discoloration on walls, ceilings, and floors. Pay attention to any peeling paint, bubbling wallpaper, or sagging walls.
  2. Check for Leaks: The most common cause of water damage is plumbing leaks. Inspect your plumbing fixtures, such as sinks, toilets, and showers, for any visible leaks. Check under sinks and around pipes for wetness or water stains.
  3. Examine the Roof: Water damage in the ceiling or upper walls could be due to a leaking roof. Inspect your roof for missing or damaged shingles, cracked flashing, or clogged gutters, which can all contribute to leaks that then further reached your room with a damp carpet.
  4. Assess Appliance Connections: Water damage near appliances like washing machines, dishwashers, and refrigerators may be caused by faulty connections or broken hoses. Examine these appliances and their connections for leaks.
  5. Consult a Professional: If you’re unable to pinpoint the source of the water damage, or if it appears to be extensive, it’s advisable to consult a professional water damage restoration specialist. They have the expertise and equipment to detect hidden leaks and assess the full extent of the damage.
We can help you with this! Call Vetted Los Angeles Restorations if you’re struggling with water damage anywhere in LA County.

2. Prevent Further Damage

Now that you know the cause of the leak, it’s time to stop it and prevent further damage. 

Fix the leaking pipe or a washing machine or at least try to prevent the water from further spreading to your other rooms. 

This may involve calling a plumber for plumbing issues or a roofing contractor for roofing leaks.

After that, you need to get rid of the actual water.

3. Start Drying Out the Area

Extract the Water

Extracting standing water is a crucial step, not only for drying out your carpet but also for preventing your drywall, insulation, furniture, and other materials from getting more damp too.

Tools and Materials You’ll Need:

  • Wet/dry vacuum
  • Buckets
  • Mops and towels
  • Squeegee
  • Submersible pump (for larger amounts of water)
  • Rubber gloves and protective gear
  • Extension cords (if using electrical equipment)
  • Trash bags or containers for disposing of soaked materials

Steps to Extract Standing Water:

  1. Safety Precautions: Ensure the area is safe to enter, especially if there are electrical outlets or devices submerged in the water. If you’re unsure, it’s best to turn off the electricity to the affected area before proceeding.
  2. Select the Right Equipment: If you have access to a wet/dry vacuum, it’s the most efficient tool for extracting the water. If the water level is too high or if you’re dealing with a large volume of water, consider using a submersible pump to move the water outdoors. Buckets, mops, and towels can be used for smaller-scale water removal.
  3. Begin Extraction: If using a wet/dry vacuum, ensure that it’s suitable for water extraction and set it up with the appropriate attachment. Slowly move the vacuum head across the affected area, making overlapping passes. Empty the vacuum canister as needed.
  4. Mops and Towels: If a vacuum is not available or practical, use mops and towels to soak up water. Wring them out into buckets or containers, and continue until you’ve removed as much water as possible.
  5. Squeegee: For hard surfaces like tile or concrete, a squeegee can help push water toward a drain or a bucket, making the process more efficient.
  6. Submersible Pump: If you’re dealing with a substantial amount of standing water, a submersible pump can be placed in the water and connected to a hose for drainage outside. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for setup and operation.
  7. Dispose of Water: Ensure that the collected water is safely disposed of. If using buckets, carefully carry them outside to empty. If using a submersible pump, make sure the hose leads water away from the house, preferably to a drainage area.

Repeat this extraction process until the area is fully dry.

Now, it’s important to note that you might not have removed all of the water. 

Check hidden or hard-to-reach areas like wall cavities for trapped water.

This part can be a bit difficult to do. You may even be required to discard some items that can’t be preserved. Make sure to consult with a professional or someone knowledgeable enough to help you figure this out. 

Dry Out the Entire Room

Once the water is out, it’s time to dry out the room that has a damp carpet.

Don’t worry, we’ll get to how to dry out a damp carpet specifically in just a bit.

But first, here’s how to effectively dry out an entire room:

  1. Ventilation: Open doors and windows to allow fresh air to circulate through the room. Cross-ventilation is ideal, where air flows in through one opening and out through another.
  2. Use Fans: Place fans strategically in the room to improve air circulation. Ceiling fans, box fans, and oscillating fans can all help in drying out the space. Point fans toward wet areas.
  3. Dehumidifiers: Use a dehumidifier to extract moisture from the air and bring the overall humidity levels of a room down. Empty the dehumidifier’s water reservoir regularly.
  4. Remove Wet Materials: Remove and dispose of any saturated materials that cannot be salvaged, such as wet drywall, insulation, or damaged furniture.
  5. Elevate Furniture, Include Your Carpet: Raise it off the floor on blocks or furniture sliders to allow air to circulate underneath.
  6. Bring Them Outdoors: Remove those items outside for drying.
  7. Heat Source: If it’s safe to do so, you can use heating sources like space heaters or central heating to speed up the drying process. Monitor the temperature and humidity to avoid creating an environment conducive to mold.
  8. Desiccants: Place desiccants, such as silica gel, around the room to absorb excess moisture. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for proper use.
  9. Monitor Progress: Regularly check the room and the affected areas to assess how the drying process is going. Depending on the extent of the moisture, it may take several days to completely dry out a room.

Drying Out a Damp Carpet and Cleaning It

Time to focus on your damp carpet. By now, you should have lifted your damp carpet and placed it outside.

You can also do the following steps:

  • Drain the Carpet: By hanging the carpet outside, the excess water will start draining out of the carpet. Good weather conditions will help speed this up.
  • Use Desiccants and Fans Again: Remember these? You can place desiccants on the carpet too to aid in moisture absorption. Get the fans you’ve used in the damp room and point them towards the carpet.
  • Apply Baking Soda or Carpet Powder: Sprinkle baking soda or a carpet deodorizing powder on the damp areas. This helps to absorb moisture and reduce odors.
  • Use a Vacuum Cleaner: Vacuum the carpet up once it’s dry to remove loose dirt and debris. Go over the carpet multiple times.
  • Spot Cleaning (For Stains):
    • Blot the stain with a clean, white cloth or paper towel to absorb as much of the spill as you can.
    • Use a carpet stain remover or a mixture of warm water and a small amount of mild detergent to treat the stain. Follow the product’s instructions or use a solution of 1 part white vinegar to 2 parts water for general stain removal.
    • Gently blot the stain, working from the outer edge toward the center. Avoid scrubbing vigorously, as it may damage the carpet fibers.
    • Rinse the area with clean water and blot again to remove any residue.
  • Overall Cleaning (For Light Soiling):
    • Mix warm water with a small amount of mild detergent or a carpet cleaner following the product’s instructions.
    • Dip a soft-bristle brush or scrub brush into the soapy solution and gently scrub the carpet, working in one direction.
    • Rinse the area with clean water, using a cloth or sponge, and blot to remove excess moisture.
  • Deep Cleaning (For Heavily Soiled Carpets):
    • Consider using a carpet cleaning machine or renting one from a home improvement store. These machines use a mixture of water and cleaning solution to deep clean the carpet. Follow the machine’s instructions carefully.
    • If using a machine is not an option, you can hire professional carpet cleaning services for a thorough cleaning.
  • Drying:
    • After cleaning, allow the carpet to dry once again. Avoid walking on the carpet until it’s completely dry.
  • Fluff the Carpet: Once the carpet is dry, vacuum it again to fluff up the fibers and restore its appearance.

4. Further Measures

Great job, by now your carpet should be completely dry and clean! 

However, your work may not be fully complete. Your drywall or insulation may be damp too. They may require a drying procedure of their own or even a complete replacement. 

Learn how to repair a damp drywall.

Also, ensure that the moisture source is fully removed to prevent this from happening again. 


To be honest, all of this is some hard work. So, if you’re a hardcore DIY-er like most other homeowners, apply these tips for successful drying of your wet carpet.

Need further assistance? Call us to help you restore your water damage completely. We’ll mitigate your leak, dry the room, and replace any damaged materials.