Toxic Odors After Cleaning Carpets?


My girlfriend and I decided to clean her carpet so we took a hose and used a lot of water pressure on the carpet. After cleaning it by using a shop vac to suck up the water, the carpet was still wet 2 days later. Now there is a toxic odor causing her to get dizzy and sick.


The carpet looks clean now but the smell is terrible. I'm thinking she needs to remove the pad and replace it and maybe still use the carpet. Also how long can that smell go before causing hazardous health problems? We've kept the door shut and windows open since that day and its been about a week now. What do we do?

Ashley from Largo

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December 18, 20080 found this helpful

I would pull up the carpet as soon as you can, and keep the windows open as much as possible. You may be getting some mold growing, and it can be harmful to your health! Borrow some fans and circulate as much air as you can to try to dry up the subfloors.


Your idea was not so terrible, but a shop vac doesn't have enough suction, and a hose provides too much water. Most grocery stores rent units that are pretty good. If you ever get too much water on a carpet, (like if a pipe breaks) you can use them to suck out the excess water; but it needs to be done within a day or so of the spill.

Your best bet now is to cut your losses (so to speak) and get the carpet and the padding out of there right away. Whether you can re-use the carpet? I kind of doubt it, if mold has started. If it is a home she owns, and if she can't afford to replace the carpet right now, she can always paint the subfloor (unless it has buckled and also needs replaced). If she is on a slab, and the pad is resting on concrete, she can look into "faux" painting of the concrete--I have seen some really cool effects done with paint--which is relatively inexpensive (certainly cheaper than carpet!)


If she is renting, I am afraid you'll have to let the landlord or manager know, so that they can have the floor checked and get the carpet and pad out of there. It might mean finding a new place to live...but we have all done things that sounded good at the time but didn't turn out so well in the end. Life is about learning.

Consider this a slightly expensive lesson. But you know what, no one has been hurt and floors can be fixed! Don't let people put you down for it. Your intentions were good.

Good luck!

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By Ashley (Guest Post)
December 18, 20080 found this helpful

It was a random idea and she didn't want to go rent a machine because she said it would've cost too much. So I said ok let's just clean it by hand and the water hose had a nozzle on it. It was used light pressure but a lot of water was on the carpet itself.


My intentions were good it was a fun way to bond with her I do say so myself we had been arguing and I guess you could say we took it out on the carpet hey it looks beautiful but smells bad. Lesson learned, rent a machine!

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December 21, 20080 found this helpful

After my water heater broke and flooded my carpeting, my insurance co. sent in people who ripped up the carpet, padding....then went down into my crawl space and activated about 4 big industrial fans. The fans were also used on the plywood floor upstairs. That went on for days, until they were sure everything was dry. Then, my insurance company paid for new carpeting and installation!!


Sorry to say, but yours is ruined and unhealthy. Get it all out of there....please!

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 969 Posts
December 21, 20080 found this helpful

Well, you have gotton some constructive ideas and some blasting. I am sure you didn't think things through before you did this, but everyone is entitled to do something foolish now and then.
So, yes, you have developed a mold and you need to wear masks at all times, gloves, and if you can, have a professional come and take care of it if you are getting sick. If the subfloor isn't ruined, you might be able to get away with KILZ, a white sealent that we managers use to seal in cat pee, so it pretty much is our holy grail for sealing in disasters.


Scrap everything and admit to the owners you made a mistake. If you are good residents, they might make you a payment arrangement and you can stay. Your deposit won't cover this, unless it was very very high.
The only thing that might help is if the floor underneat is wood, you may be able to dry it, seal it, and offer to put down linolium. When you leave, someone might want the apartment without carpeting. Not everyone likes it.
Good luck!

PS: THIS IS NOT THE CRAIGSLIST "RANTS AND RAVES" SECTION!! You can say they did something unwise without being mean, and if you can't, then just stay off the keyboard, shake your head, and keep reading.

This is a nice, positive place to get help, and slamming people has no place here!

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 846 Posts
December 21, 20080 found this helpful

I feel so badly for you! We all make at least one large mistake in our lives that we could kick ourselves for so don't beat yourself up on this one, it's fixable! To err is human ;-)

Your girlfriend absolutely can not stay there until the carpet has been safely removed and the floors, baseboard and lower walls have been tested for mold! Mold is life threatening and continues to grow/spread until completely removed and the longer you wait to take care of it the worse the problem becomes!

Talk to your landlord right away and if they are at all kind they will contact their insurance company (rental property damage by tenants is generally covered under those policies) and maybe you'll only end up having to pay the deductible. Even if the deductible is high it is most likely a lot less than clean-up and replacement costs will be! If your girlfriend owns the home she needs to call her home insurance agent and pray they will cover the damage under the circumstances.

Good luck to you and let us know the outcome, okay?

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Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 378 Feedbacks
December 22, 20080 found this helpful

I don't know your answer but I like your energetic way of going about it!

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