Why Is It Risky to Have A Lingering Odour After Water Damage?

Water damage can happen in any part of your house, whether you live in a rural area or a city.

Water damage is one of the most common types of damage that homeowners face. The good news is that it’s not as bad as some people think. If you have water damage, you can take steps to minimise its effects and get back on track with your life.


What Is Water Damage?

When water enters your home, it causes damage. This includes mould growth, mildew, rusting pipes, and more. In addition to causing structural damage, water also damages personal property.

The type of water damage depends on where it comes from. Flooding is the most common cause of water damage. However, leaks or burst pipes can also lead to water damage.

Suggested Read: Most common causes of water damage

Why do carpets smell when wet?

Several reasons can cause a carpet to release an unpleasant odour upon exposure to moisture. As mentioned above, some carpets contain material that emits a scent similar to diesel fuel or burnt oil. Other rugs include synthetic yarns, which tend to give off a chemical odour when wet.

Other factors that contribute to a carpet releasing a foul odour when wet include:

  • Poor quality materials: Some cheap-quality carpets emit odours similar to diesel fuel or burnt oil when they absorb liquid. These odours are caused by the presence of certain chemicals found in the backing of the rug.
  • Old stains: Accidental spills of liquids, like milk, wine, and soda pop, can leave not only stains but also unpleasant odours that worsen over time, even when dry.
  • Mould growth can occur in areas with excessive humidity, poor ventilation or inadequate cleaning. While mould does not necessarily produce a strong odour, it can grow rapidly and spread quickly.

Why a Lingering Smell After Water Damage Just Isn’t Safe?

The truth about lingering smells after water damage is that they are prevalent occurrences. It is often caused by bacteria that live in the soil and can grow quickly once exposed to moisture. This is why it’s essential to act fast and call in professionals to help you dry out the area thoroughly. If left unattended, mould spores can continue to multiply and cause serious harm to both people and property.

Mould and mildew thrive in moist environments. When they encounter moisture, such as standing water, wet carpets, or leaking pipes, they break down materials, including paper, cardboard, wood, leather, fabric, and rubber. Once this happens, the resulting build-up of mould begins to emit a foul odour.

To prevent mould and mildew from spreading throughout your home, make sure to follow these tips:

  1. Remove anything that might provide a place for mould to grow.
  2. Dry out the affected areas immediately.
  3. Clean everything thoroughly, starting with the walls.
  4. Use a dehumidifier or air purifier to reduce humidity levels in the house.
  5. Prevent future problems by keeping your home free of excess moisture.

Does a wet carpet smell pose a health risk?

Depending on the cause of the wet carpet smell and how long it has lingered in the room, the odour could present a danger to your health, especially if you suffer from allergies.

A damp carpet is the perfect breeding ground for numerous bacteria and fungi, including Aspergillus fumigatus, Penicillium chrysogenum, Cladosporium herbarum, Mucor racemosus, and others.

  • These microorganisms release toxins in the air that can irritate your eyes, nose, throat, and lungs.
  • If left untreated, the toxins can lead to respiratory infections such as bronchitis, pneumonia, sinusitis, and lung cancer.
  • In addition, prolonged exposure to the released in air mould spores can cause allergy symptoms like sneezing, coughing, wheezing, and watery eyes.
  • Neurological issues: The neurotoxins produced by these moulds can affect your nervous system and brain. Sometimes, they can trigger seizures, migraines, and other neurological disorders.

Types of Carpets that Hold Odour More Easily

There are four basic types of carpet fibres – nylon, polyester, cotton, and wool. Nylon is the most common carpeting used today because it holds up well under foot traffic, is easy to clean, and resists stains better than many other materials. However, it does hold onto odours longer than the others do. If you’re looking for a good option for an area where people tend to track dirt into the house, choose a carpet made of nylon.

Polyester is another popular choice among homeowners. It offers a plush, soft feel and looks great in various colours. But it doesn’t hold up nearly as well as nylon over time and is also susceptible to staining. Cotton carpets are absorbent and don’t hold onto smells nearly as long as other fibres. They’re also usually less expensive than different types of carpets. Wool carpets are typically the most costly option, but they offer superb durability and comfort due to their high pile density.

Type of Odours Carpets Could Have

If you’ve ever noticed a strange odour emanating from your carpet, you’re probably wondering what type of smell it could be. If you don’t know what type of smell it is, here are some things to look out for.

  1. Pet Smells
    Pet smells are among the most common reasons why people call carpet cleaners. They don’t want to clean up after their pets and fear the odour will transfer to their furniture and clothes. But how do you know what type of odour is causing the problem? And how long does it take to dissipate once you’ve cleaned it?
  1. Dampness or Moisture
    When moisture gets underneath the carpeting, a musty odour can develop. This happens because the bacteria in the soil start producing ammonia, which causes mustiness. You might notice dampness or moisture under your flooring for several reasons. Some of these include:
  • Water damage due to flooding
  • Spills that fall into the carpet
  • Humidity
  • Mould growth
  • Wet areas where pets walk or play
  1. Mould
    Mould growth is one of the most common causes of odours in carpets. When mould grows, it releases toxic vapours into the air. This can cause headaches, sneezing, coughing, and even asthma attacks.
  1. Smoke
    Smoke smells often occur because of cooking fires, cigarettes, or cigars. These smells can linger for days or weeks.
  1. Garbage
    Garbage smells are usually caused by the food left behind after meals. They can also come from pet waste.

How can we help?

We offer specialised deep carpet cleaning, drying and restoration services

Wet carpet smells are the most common reasons people call us out. Often, it’s not even because of a leaky roof or broken pipes; instead, it’s due to a simple accident like spilling coffee or tea over the floor.

However, while trying to clean up the mess, don’t forget about the rest of your home. You wouldn’t want to expose your kids’ toys to the same moisture or risk damaging furniture or rugs.

That’s where our professional carpet cleaning services come into play. We use specially designed equipment to extract stains, dirt, dust, allergens and odours from your carpeting. Our experts know how to handle every type of problem you could face, including pet hair, food spills, smoke staining and more.

In addition to the thorough cleaning process, we offer a variety of options that allow you to choose precisely what you want to be done. For instance, we’ll steam clean your carpet without chemicals or treat it with powerful enzymes to break down stains and odours. Whatever you decide, you can count on our expert technicians to deliver quality results.

When any tips, tricks, and remedies do not help improve the wet carpet smell, save yourself the stress and consult a professional carpet cleaner to inspect your carpet.


Suggested Read: Top 5 questions frequently asked about water damage

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