How to Restore a Car's Carpet After Water Damage

Written by constance barker
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How to Restore a Car's Carpet After Water Damage
Restore water-damaged carpet in a car to prevent mould and mildew (Beautiful interior of the new modern car image by terex from

Water and carpet do not mix well. Carpet tends to absorb liquids, and that can damage carpet fibres and release unpleasant smells. When carpet in a car becomes wet, the water cannot dry properly, and the smell increases because of the lack of air flow inside the car. Clean water damage to a car's carpet as soon as possible to ensure mould and mildew do not develop.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Old towels
  • Shop vacuum
  • Garden hose
  • Carpet shampoo
  • Scrub brush
  • Vacuum
  • Carpet refresher or baking soda

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  1. 1

    Remove the carpet from the car if the carpet is removable and place outside. Use old towels to soak up liquid from saturated carpet.

  2. 2

    Run a liquid absorbing machine such as a shop vacuum over the carpet to remove as much water as possible. Keep running the shop vacuum over the carpet until liquid is no longer lifting from the carpet.

  3. 3

    Lay the carpet across a clothesline or rail handle. Put in the sun if possible to speed up the drying time.

  4. 4

    Clean the carpet with a carpet shampoo. Spray the carpet with a garden hose and scrub with the carpet shampoo. Rinse the carpet with the hose and hang out to dry in the sun. The shampoo destroys bacteria forming on the carpet.

  5. 5

    Vacuum the carpet after it has thoroughly dried. Sprinkle carpet refresher or baking soda onto the carpet to give it a clean smell.

  6. 6

    Discard any wet padding from the car and replace with new padding. Place the clean, dry carpet back into the car.

Tips and warnings

  • If the carpet has been soaked from flood water, discard immediately. Flood water contains hazardous bacteria that breed mould and other unhealthy toxins.

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