A disaster has struck, and you are left with a house full of soggy messes. More often than not, it’s hard to know exactly where you should begin “Project Drying-Out.” So we’re going offer help. 

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Today we’re going to learn about a few hints for drying waterlogged area rugs. It’s important to get these off the floor and dried out ASAP. Because standing (or sitting) water is one of your worst enemies. Let’s get started!

1 – Remove furniture 

First things first, you need to get everything off the area rug and out of the way. Furniture that has been subjected to water damage should be taken care of as soon as possible. Unfortunately, furniture that has been very damaged should be disposed of. Wet couches will grow mold and mildew quickly, which can be extremely dangerous. Find a place for your furniture (maybe even outside in the sun!) and move it off the rug and out of the way. 

2 – Remove water

Next, you’ve got to remove the water. If you have a leak, maybe this means patching the leak before you start anything else. If you don’t know how long things have been wet, this is an extra incentive to get to work right away. Left sitting, wet rugs can grow mold, which is extremely toxic and harmful to humans and animals. 

Now it’s time to pull out or buy/rent a wet/dry vac. Renting a wet/dry vac isn’t expensive, and it’s definitely the way to go if you don’t plan on using it often. (Let’s hope you only have to use it once!) Because area rugs are such bulky things, you can’t just wring them out like you would a t-shirt. That’s why you need a vacuum. 

Take your time sucking up all that water. It will probably take a little while, so it definitely requires patience. However, it’s the easiest solution for removing water from your rug. 

3 – Create airflow

It’s time to start drying your rug out. This step is simple but may cost some money. You’ll need a dehumidifier and strong fans, both of which can be bought or rented. Set up your dehumidifier and fans early on in the game, so that you can start creating airflow. This will jump-start the rug-drying process. 

Once you’ve set them up, position the fans to blow on the rug, to ensure the best results. Though you won’t keep the rug like this for long, it’s good to have airflow while you get ready to move the rug. 

4 – Move the rug

Obviously, your rug cannot stay where it currently is and effectively dry out. This means you must either prop your rug up inside your house or find somewhere to hang it. If you have a clothesline outside, this is the perfect place for hanging a rug to dry. If you hang it on a clothesline, you will need to make sure that it isn’t folded over itself. This will cause the rug to take twice as much time drying. 

If you can’t hang your rug up, you’ll have to prop it. You could use chairs, step ladders, totes, or anything plastic or metal that you can find to put under it. Just don’t use items susceptible to water damage, such as wooden chairs, or the arms of couches. Once you’ve propped or hung your rug, make sure your fans are blowing on it, and in no time at all, it should be dry. Small rugs could take as little as a few hours, while larger rugs make take up to a few days. 

5 – Replace the padding

Grey carpet on wooden floors

Once your rug is out of the way, your next job is to either dry out your rug padding or replace it altogether. No matter how dry your rug is, if your padding underneath is the tiniest bit damp, you will have accomplished nothing. Your carpet padding must be treated exactly like your carpet. You can dry it, or if it’s simpler, you can trash it and buy new carpet padding. New padding is definitely cheaper than a new rug!

Wet padding, left wet, will grow mold and mildew. And it can potentially damage the floor underneath it. You can follow the above directions for your rug and your padding!

Be healthy

Even if you don’t think your rug and padding are that wet, the tiniest bit of dampness needs to be addressed. Not only for your safety and wellbeing but for your house’s. Your floor may be damaged by damp rugs, so you want to be attentive to wet rugs. And if you’re wondering exactly when you should book a carpet cleaner for the holidays, take a look at our treatment of that question.