Even with best intentions in mind, our lovely, comfortable carpets are prone to all sorts of spills and stains. Whether it was a glass of wine on a celebratory evening or tomato sauce spilt from mum’s bolognese recipe, whether it was our fault or we’re blaming our four-legged companions (we’re not pointing fingers or paws), stains have no place on a good, healthy carpet.

When it comes to water, however, what’s the big deal? It’s just water, so it’ll evaporate. Besides, water is colourless and odourless, so out of sight, out of mind. Unfortunately, water can be one of the most damaging types of stain your carpet can endure, and the fact that water stains can be colourless and odourless (for the moment) can make it hard to remove before real damage can take place.

The Danger of Water Stains

In many cases, water stains leave behind no colour or odour at first, but sometimes they will in the case of grey water flooding (i.e. backflow). In either case, it’s urgent that action be taken immediately. Water stains can embed themselves deep within the carpet’s piling and attract bacteria and mould. Not only are these unhealthy and dangerous for respiratory reasons, but they’ll also begin to smell foul and become larger as more moisture enters the home.

The DIY Method

Cleaning up water stains doesn’t need to be difficult, but in order to do so effectively you are constrained by:

  1. Time: how long has the water been permitted to remain in the carpet?
  2. Severity: is the stain only in a spot or corner of the carpet or has a large section (or the entirety) of the carpet been stained?

If less than a day has passed since sustaining damage and the stain is of a manageable size, look for a clean and dry towel, cleaning solution (detergent and dish soap can work), white vinegar, and clean water.

Blot up as much moisture as possible with the cloth. Avoid scrubbing harshly as this can damage the fibres. Instead, apply pressure on and around the stain to ‘lift’ up the piling. 

In a small container, mix in a teaspoon of cleaning solution to water and mix well. Soak the towel, rinse, and remove residue. Next, gently scrub around and on the affected area in a dabbing motion. This should remove most stains effectively.

For tougher stains, add just a pinch of white vinegar to a container of water and either spray the solution directly onto the stain or dab at the stain with the cloth dipped in the solution. Vinegar’s pH should help to lift and neutralise the stain.

Allow ventilation to air dry. Fans and dehumidifiers can help if left around the affected area.

Advanced Carpet Remediation Solutions

Whenever the extent of the stain is more than you can handle, and/or the stain has been permitted to sit for a day or longer, mould and bacterial growth become inevitable without immediate professional assistance.

It is possible that sections of the carpet will need to be removed entirely, or simply the carpet’s backing needs replacing. Either way, complete carpet replacement is often the last resort and as such water damaged carpet remediation experts should be contacted to save time, money, and bring your carpet back to life.


The friendly experts at Electrovac have the equipment and expertise to solve water damaged carpet problems of all sizes, so endeavour to get in touch and learn more about how we can help save your carpet after a flood.