While professional carpet cleaners who know how to properly clean carpets do a great job at water extraction or dry cleaning carpets, they do not clean the pad that is positioned between the subfloor and the carpeting. In fact, they try to avoid soaking the pad with moisture since it’s difficult to completely dry out the pad if it becomes saturated.
Moisture buildup on the carpet pad actually leads to a host of issues. If the carpet cleaners use water and shampoo to clean with, they should quickly move to the extraction process as fast as possible.
Why It Is Important to Keep the Pad Dry
Once the water saturates the carpet pad, it is an extremely slow process to completely dry it out. The pad is sandwiched between the subfloor and the carpet, so it is very difficult to ventilate it well.
Even when the carpet feels dry, if the pad has become saturated, it will remain wet for several days. Several days are long enough for the wetness to become a serious problem – and eventually, you may have to replace the pad or entire carpet.
Layers of Carpeting – The Purpose of the Carpet Pad
You may not think about it when you walk across your soft carpet, but the carpet actually has several layers that keep it looking great and standing up to daily wear and tear.
Before the carpeting is laid, first a cushion goes down to cover the subfloor and acts as a buffer between the carpet layer you see and interact with and the subfloor that helps to hold everything in place. The carpet pad is what makes the carpet feel soft and comfortable to walk or relax on.
Carpet Pads Are Like A Sponge
Even though the carpet pad is out of sight and out of mind, it plays a very important role in your carpet looking great and lasting longer. With all the amazing cushioning, the carpet pad also acts like a sponge.
Most carpet pads are made from a foam rubber that actually absorbs any liquid that comes into contact with it, and quite quickly becomes saturated.
The carpet fibers do not absorb liquids well. In fact, if liquids are not cleaned up immediately, anything that spills onto or gets tracked in onto the carpet goes straight through the carpet fibers and gets absorbed by the pad.
Mold and Mildew
Carpet cleaners aim to keep the pad as dry as possible because if it becomes soaked in moisture, it can lead to mold and mildew.
Since mold and mildew are living organisms, if they begin to grow, they spread rapidly to create the following issues:
- A Bad Smell – A musty smell will begin to emit from the mold, mildew, and bacteria growing underneath your feet deep inside the padding that was allowed to become saturated and not properly dried. This smell is not only an offensive aroma that nobody wants to smell all day long, but it is also emitting some dangerous spores.
- A Toxic Problem – Toxic mold spores seep into the air, and your family will breathe them in. Breathing in mold spores is a serious problem especially for young children or infants or the elderly, in addition to anyone who has asthma allergies, or other respiratory issues.
- A Sticky Residue – If the carpets are cleaned improperly, a sticky residue will be left behind which will cause the carpet to soil faster. The trick is properly rinsing out the cleaning agents and the dirt without over saturating the carpet pad beneath the fibers.
Even after the carpet pad completely dries out, if mold or mildew has begun to form, it will continue to grow into a huge problem. Mold, mildew, and other fungi thrive in damp areas, especially in porous materials where they are allowed to grow with very little or no ventilation.
In fact, mold and mildew begin to grow in moisture trapped in the pad in as little as a couple of days, from 48 to 72 hours.
What happens if the pad gets soaked?
If the pad underneath the carpeting becomes soaked, several problems begin to become an issue. Namely, mold and mildew can cause health problems, especially for children and those with underlying health issues such as allergies or asthma.
If the foam, rubber pad underneath the carpet becomes saturated with water and starts to mold, it is very challenging to eradicate mold or mildew from porous materials. So, if the pad has mold growing in it, it is extremely difficult to repair.
If the mold and mildew are left unattended, the carpet will need to be replaced.
Is There a way to dry the pad?
There is a way to dry out the pad, but this is usually best left to a professional who has a carpet dryer. Preferably, they won’t need to pull the carpet up to dry it, but oftentimes this is necessary to get the pad completely dry.
When To Hire A Professional
When you hire a professional carpet cleaner, they will most likely use a special cleaning wand or a shampoo-free cleaning method that penetrates to the base of the carpet fibers but not into the pad. The important thing to consider is how skilled and experienced the professional is at their job.
A knowledgeable professional carpet cleaner will know how to clean your carpet without leaving the carpet pad overly wet. The dryer you are able to keep the pad, the cleaner your carpets will be giving them a longer life under your feet.
After the professional carpet cleaners are done, your carpet should not remain wet for long. Make sure your carpet is cleaned professionally and properly every 6 to 12 months.
While a professional carpet cleaning job usually involves the use of water to some extent, even if it is only steam cleaned, carpet cleaners do not clean the pad.
In fact, they try to keep it from getting saturated in the process of cleaning the carpeting so bacteria, mold, or mildew do not have a chance to start growing in the unventilated padding that is difficult to thoroughly dry out once it becomes wet.