What to Do if Your Rug Gets Wet

Puddle Standing Water With Leaves

You do everything you can to take care of your rug- you vacuum it, clean up stains the moment you notice them, and repair any loose threads. However, no matter how good you are at taking care of your rugs, sometimes things happen that are beyond our control. For example, sometimes rugs can get wet. And, while a wet rug may not seem like a huge deal, wetness can actually cause some pretty serious damage to your rug. If the moisture isn’t cleaned up in a timely manner, it can destroy your rug beyond repair. Dyes can float, causing the pattern to become smudged. And, materials can also lose their shape. And, if the rug is wet enough, the liquid can actually seep through to your floors, causing irreparable damage to them. And, if the rug is placed underneath a piece of furniture, it can also damage that as well.

Also, let’s not forget about the biggest problem that can come with a wet rug: mold. That’s right, mold thrives in damp areas. And, not only is mold unsightly to look at, it can also cause some serious damage to your health. According to the CDC, mold can cause respiratory issues such as coughing, wheezing, a scratchy throat, stuffiness, and skin irritation. It can also cause serious issues with your lungs. Luckily, a wet rug is nothing to cry over, as it’s a pretty easy problem to fix.

Check out this guide to learn what to do if your rug gets wet.

Identifying Wet Rugs

Hand Hooked Marine Indoor Outdoor Area Rug from Air Libre by NuLoom

While it may seem obvious whether or not your rug is wet, it’s not always the case. For wetness to do damage to your rug and home, the rug doesn’t need to be soaking. And, if your rug is in a corner of the home that doesn’t receive a lot of foot traffic, it isn’t always obvious to the naked eye if it’s a bit damp.

So, how do you tell if your rug is wet?First things first, you should watch out for any foul smelling odors in your home.  If your wet rug is left untreated, that foul odor will soon permeate throughout the whole home.

If you notice that the musty odor lingers even after vacuuming and regular cleaning, then there’s likely a damp rug somewhere in your home. Other signs that there is trapped moisture in your rugs include constant sickness, allergy-like symptoms in family members as well as pets, and discoloration to the area.

As soon as you notice that your rug is wet, the best thing to do is to act fast. The longer you let it sit, the more likely that there will be damage to the rug as well as to the area below it. Plus, letting it sit increases the chances of mold and mildew forming.

Drying a Wet Rug

VB-11 from Venice Beach by Loloi

Now that you know how to identify if your rug is wet, let’s take a look at what you need to do in order to dry it.

Soak Up the Moisture

First things first, you want to soak up as much moisture as possible from the rug.

How you remove the excess moisture will depend on the fragility of your rug. If your rug is made of extremely durable material, then you should have no problem vacuuming the moisture up with a wet vacuum. Wet vacuums are the perfect tool for vacuuming moisture out of a rug, as they are specifically formulated to soak up extra moisture. If you don’t own one, you can rent one for a pretty inexpensive price.

Otherwise, if a wet vacuum isn’t an option, you can remove the excess moisture from the rug with towels. All you have to do is spread the towels over the wet areas of the rug.

Then, press the towels down using your hands or feet until they become completely saturated. Replace the wet towels with dry towels and repeat the process until the rug is dry.

Get Ahold of a Fan and a Dehumidifier

In order to speed up the drying process and to prevent mold and mildew from forming, you should get your hands on a fan and a dehumidifier.

So, turn on your ceiling fans, grab household fans and hair dryers, and point them directly at the area of the rug that is damp. Not only will these devices help dry the rug, but they will also help circulate fresh air throughout your home.

To create additional airflow in your home, you should also open as many windows and doors as possible.

Just make sure to check underneath the rug padding after you’re done drying to make sure the floor isn’t still sopping wet.

A dehumidifier should also be used, as this device can help remove excess moisture from the home. As we said earlier, mold and mildew thrive in areas that have excess moisture, so it’s very important to get your hands on a dehumidifier.

Baking Soda

If you don’t own a dehumidifier, another option is to use baking soda. Baking soda is basically a miracle worker when it comes to lifting and removing excess moisture.

All you need to do is liberally sprinkle baking soda over your rug and allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes. Then, vacuum it up.  

Small Rugs vs Large Rugs

CAM709Q from Cambridge by Safavieh

Slightly different care needs to be taken when drying a small rug versus a large rug.

If your rug is small enough to fit into the dryer (and the rug label says it’s okay to be dried in a dryer), then by all means, throw it in the dryer. However, make sure you dry it separately from the rest of your belongings, just to be safe. And, dry it on the lowest setting possible. Or, you can even dry it without heat.

If you’ve already removed a significant amount of moisture from the rug by using one of the methods above, then drying it for a few hours on a low setting should be sufficient.

If, however, your rug is too large to fit into a dryer, then you’ll want to dry it using a fan and dehumidifier as we explained above. This can definitely take a while if you’re working with an extremely large rug. That’s why we suggest working in sections. And, we also suggest propping the rug up to improve the airflow.

Another option is to hang your rug outside. Of course, you will want to begin by removing as much moisture from the rug as possible using one of the methods above. Once the moisture is removed, you can hang your rug on a line. Ideally, you’ll want to hang it so the rug doesn’t fold over on itself, as this will slow down the drying process.

While you can lay it on the ground if you don’t have any other options, just know that this will increase drying time and will also increase the chances of mold growth.


PC-02 from Panache by Loloi

After you’ve taken care of the rug, you’ll also want to take time to sanitize the rest of the room. You should even sanitize areas that your rug didn’t come into direct contact with, as these areas may still be trapped with excess moisture.

Take time to scrub the baseboards and the walls in order to remove any remaining moisture and mildew from the room.

It can also be a good idea to rent a steam cleaner to use on the rug once it’s dry. This will help to remove dust, dirt, and allergens from the rug that may otherwise cause unpleasant odors over time. It will also help to reduce the risk of mold growth.

If you don’t have access to a steam cleaner, you can also shampoo the rug once it’s dry.

Dealing With Sewage or Other Contaminants

SIM-02 from Simone by Loloi

If your rug contains your own sewage or other dangerous contaminants, you should make sure to take extra safety precautions when drying your rug.

Wear gloves, long sleeves, pants, and rubber boots, a face shield, and a ventilator. In these situations, mold can grow quickly, within 24 hours, so be sure to act quickly.

However, it can also be wise to hire a professional in these situations. This will help to ensure that your rug is really clean and that mold and other contaminants are not able to grow on it.

Hire Professional Water Damage Restoration Services

MTK721B from Montauk .25 by Safavieh

Speaking of professionals, it can also be prudent to hire a professional water damage restoration service.

If your rug was damaged during a sewage backup, flood, or other water events, then chances are there is more water damage than you think. Restoration professionals work to identify all sources of water damage and to dry out your home or business as best as possible

Just make sure that you hire a company that is in good standing with the Better Business Bureau and that has good reviews from previous customers.

Of course, if you feel like the damage to your rug is irreparable, you can also look into buying a new rug. Be sure to browse our vast selection of rugs while you’re here.

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