Disaster Clean Up Floods

5+ Essential Steps to Dry Your Car Carpet After a Flood

Oh no! You left the car windows open or the convertible hood down, and now, your car flooded after a rainstorm. Do not fret!

While the process will take a few days, there is an easy step-by-step way to dry your car carpet after experiencing a flood. Here is how to dry carpet after a flood in five essential and easy steps. 

1. Start With a Wet and Dry Vacuum 

Stanley - SL18116P Wet/Dry Vacuum, 6 Gallon, 4 Horsepower Black

Vacuuming up the bulk of the rainwater inside of your car carpets with a portable wet and dry vacuum is the best way to start the process.

While it will not completely remove all the wetness and moisture, at least it will make the carpets damp enough to move on to the next step in the procedure, where it will be easier to remove all the water.

Remove the car mats and run the wet and dry vacuum over them as well. Hang them up to dry in a designated area of your home or garage while getting the rest of your car’s carpeting dry. 

2. Use Towels To Remove Water From the Damp Carpets

Browse your linen closet for a few old towels for this job. Put on a pair of cleaning gloves for a more sanitary clean-up experience. 

Manually push down on the damp carpets with a clean towel. Once it is soaked, move on to a dry, fresh towel. You may need at least three to four old towels to complete this step.

Using towels for the damp carpets lifts any wetness that the wet-dry vacuum could not get. 

3. Fans To Dry the Carpets

You will need at least a few fans for this next step. Place a fan point towards the carpet of the driver’s side and another for the passenger side’s carpet.

Position the final fan pointing towards the carpet for the backseat. If you have a fourth fan, go ahead and have one fan pointing towards each side of the back seat’s carpeting. 

If you do not have enough fans, you can borrow some from a family member or neighbor. Alternatively, you can invest in a few extra units when you visit your local department store next time. 

Invest in a power inverter car adaptor to power a couple of the fans using your car’s cigarette lighter.

Most models only come with up to two standard wall plug-ins on the device, so you may need a long extension cord with a power strip connected to operate the other one or two fans needed to help dry the car’s carpeting. 

4. Mix Vinegar and Water To Remove Mildew or Freshen Damp Carpet

Depending on how long your car carpets have remained wet before you started to get them dry, some mildew may have already started accumulating on them.

Whether you smell mildew on the carpets or not, it’s a good idea to mix a solution of vinegar and water to remove potential mold buildup and to freshen your damp carpets before they are fully dry. 

Vinegar contains acetic acid, which is essential for removing the smell of mold and the fungus itself from your damp carpets. Grab an empty spray bottle from the cleaning section of your local store and mix it with two parts vinegar and one part water. 

If you want to minimize the unpleasant smell vinegar leaves behind, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil for a better scent-pleasing experience.

Essential oils such as citrus, tea tree, lavender, eucalyptus, and clove not only enhance the smell of your carpets but also assist in removing mold

5. Use a Portable Dehumidifier or Baking Soda To Absorb the Remaining Moisture

Eva-dry E-333 Renewable dehumidifier, Pack of 1, White Sand

Pick one option or the other highlighted below when you go about the steps on how to dry car carpets after the flood. 

Plug in and let a portable dehumidifier sit near the center console of your car. For best results, use a cordless dehumidifier so that you are not draining your car’s battery.

Let it run for at least a few hours, and check on the condition of the carpets. Allow the device to run some more until it needs a charge to power it up for more dehumidifying or when all the carpets are completely dry. 

If you do not own a dehumidifier, using boxes of baking soda is a more cost-effective alternative for this last step.

You can use any brand of baking soda as long as you are purchasing the variety in small one-pound boxes. 

Grab four boxes of baking soda from your local grocery store. Open up the boxes only and place one open box in each corner of the car. The baking soda will help to absorb the remaining moisture on your car’s carpeting. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you know the essential steps on how to dry a car carpet after a flood, here are answers to frequently asked questions about the topic. 

How do you dry a wet car interior?

Besides following the steps above, you can also dry a car interior by keeping the car window open during the day when there is no rain expected in the forecast. 

How do you dry out a flooded car floor?

The first step to drying out a flooded car floor is to run a wet and dry vacuum to remove most of the moisture from the carpets. This must be done before taking any of the other steps to get the carpets dry. 

How long does it take for the car carpet to dry?

It can take at least two to three days for the car carpet to dry completely by following the above steps. If there is no more rain in the forecast when you are doing this project, keep your windows down to increase overall circulation and expedite the drying process. 

How do you dry a flooded carpet fast?

Drying a flooded carpet fast starts with using a wet and dry vacuum and running fans near the wet carpets. 

By AlwaysReadyHQ Team

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Location: Atlanta, GA, USA

The AlwaysReadyHQ Team is made up of writers and editors with experience ranging from emergency paramedics to former FEMA policy writers to natural disaster reporters.

Our goal is to provide clear, concise, organized, realistic, and actionable information to help you and your family feel comfortable and ready for anything. Less scared and more prepared.

We only source from authoritative sources such as government agencies and industry associations to bring reliable information to directly to you.

Andrew Riley - Contributing Editor

Andrew grew up in a country known for earthquakes, volcanoes, and typhoons. But despite the chaos and destruction of natural disasters, he remembers the resilience and readiness of neighbors, despite a lack of official government aid. He hopes that his team of experienced writers bring a bit of that to all of AlwaysReadyHQ's readers.