By : XO2® Pty Ltd, Chris Blamire June 12th, 2019

Carpet Drying And Clean Up With The Express Method

Read time: 7 minutes

When flooding and major spills occur, things can get stressful! Having a safe and effective procedure for the cleaning and drying of flooded surfaces can save you time, money and stress.

In this training guide you’ll learn about how to assess the flooded area, what you’ll need to do the drying job safely and the steps you need to take to ensure a clean, safe, dry and healthy result.

Stay calm and use the skills you’re about to learn.

When you experience a flood or spill in your workplace, you can either freak out... or deal with it professionally. This training guide will empower you with the skills and confidence to deal with floods and spills the professional way.

Health, safety and wellbeing.

Health, safety and wellbeing is the backbone of great cleaning procedures and cleaning teams. Being health and safety conscious is your job. Make it your priority and part the culture within your organisation. It takes discipline, care and motivation, and it should be revised and refreshed continually.

Safety should always come first in everything you do and should never be forgotten or ignored.

If you haven't already done so, we highly recommend that you and your team complete XO2's health, safety and wellbeing training programs.

Are you prepared for the next flood or major spill in your facility?

What you need.

1. Portable carpet extraction machine

A great portable, spray and suck, carpet machine is your launchpad for achieving professional results. Regardless of who you are working for, they will want: fast drying, clean fibres, stains removed, odours gone and they will want it done FAST!

New technology and innovation matched with the right program make this achievable. So make sure you have a machine that ticks all the boxes…

• Suction: Powerful sucking vacuum system with motor protection and safety.

• Spray: Adjustable spray pump with a working pressure of up to 250psi at the tool. Compatible with Express method chemistry, heat and powerful sucking systems.

• Manoeuvrability: Easy to use, setup, move and transport. On-board storage. Good wheels for transport and stair climbing.

• Professional tooling options.

• Easy use and care. No fuss.

2. Cleaning chemicals and decontamination treatments

The function of chemicals in cleaning is to make your task faster, easier and to give you better results.

Here are the main categories of chemicals used in the Express Carpet Drying and Clean Up program...

• Primary Cleaning Chemical (Recommendation: Ducks Nuts)

• Decontamination Treatment (Recommendation: Oradicator)

• Stain Removers (Recommendation: Browning & Watermark Remover, Perox and Wizz King)

• Odour Removers (Recommendation: Odour Kill)

3. Defoamer

Defoamers like Bubble Buster are a chemical you add to your dirty water tank that saves time. By reducing foam you can reduce tank emptying due to surplus foam. Defoamers also protect extraction machines and vacuum motors by reducing the danger of foam making its way into your vacuum motors that will result in expensive vac motor replacements.


4. Tools and accessories

The following tools and accessories are necessary requirements...

• Carpet cleaning tool

• Upholstery cleaning tool

• Hoses with carrying bag. They are easy, tidy and non-marking. Ensure your hoses are heat, pressure, chemical and crush resistant. And make sure your vacuum hose is G-vac and your solutions hose is non-marking. The hose bag is a great way to look after your hoses and make them easy to transport.

• Personal protection equipment (PPE)

• Safety signage and barricades

The following tools and accessories are optional, depending on the type of work you do…

• Stair cleaning tool

• Curtain cleaning tool

• Tile and grout cleaning tool

• Furniture protection pads - to protect furniture from being or causing damage.

5. Dehumidifier

A dehumidifier is a transportable speed drying system that plugs into the wall just like a vacuum cleaner. They are the most effective way to dry and remove moisture from indoor areas. They are worth their weight in gold, especially when you have a flood!

After extraction and deep cleaning, drying happens through evaporation. That's why in wet, humid conditions drying is slow. And in dry conditions (low humidity at less than 60% relative humidity), drying is fast.

In a nutshell, a dehumidifier draws the moisture from the area and deep in the carpet fibre then converts it into liquid ready for disposal. It pushes dry air back out. The most popular dehumidifier is the XPower 85L model with wheels and handle. It's recommended that you have at least one dehumidifier in your equipment kit.

6. Carpet blowers and air movers

Carpet blowers are a powerful fan usually with three speeds. They can assist in speeding up the drying process by circulating and moving the air around. However, if there is a lot of moisture and humidity in the area, the air mover will just move the moisture around and drying will be slow. Air movers are great to have but optional if you have a dehumidifier.

Start by inspecting the affected area.
1. What type of flood or spill is it?

There are 3 main categories of floods and spills. In this training program, we will be covering the first type (Category 1: Floods or spills from a clean source) and we'll touch on how to deal with the second and third categories.

Category 1: Floods or spills from a clean source

This includes flooding caused by wind driven rain, overflowing bathtubs or sinks, leaking pipes, taps or clean toilet water. If we don't deal with this category quickly and properly, it can very easily fall into one of the 2 more serious categories below.

Category 2: Floods or spills that can make people sick (grey water)

This category is generally referred to as grey water. It includes liquids that could cause illness or discomfort due to contact or ingestion. Some grey water examples include water damage from dishwashers, washing machines and overflowing toilets which may contain some poo and wee!

Category 3: Floods or spills that can cause serious illness or death if ingested

This category requires a very specialised level of restoration. This is the really nasty stuff... things like sewerage, rising floodwaters from rivers and streams, toilet overflow which includes faeces, water damage that has been left untreated for too long and stagnant water.

2. Assess how severe the flood or spill is.

Within the 3 categories of floods and spills, there are different levels of how bad the damage might be. Here is a guide...

Code Green

• Only a part of the area or room has been affected

• Minimum carpet has been wet

• Drying and clean up can be done immediately

• No structural damage

• The area is safe to enter

Code Blue

• The whole floor area or room has been affected

• The entire carpet has been wet and backing/underlay affected

• Some structural damage may be present and water may have wicked up walls to a small degree.

• The area may still be safe to enter

Code Orange

• The flood or spill at this level may have come from above because not only is the whole floor area or room been affected but ceilings, walls and insulation too.

• The entire carpet has been wet and backing/underlay affected

• Structural damage is definitely present.

• The area may still be safe to enter

Code Red

• The water damage at this level may have come from above because not only is the whole floor area or room been affected but ceilings, walls and insulation too.

• The entire carpet has been wet and backing/underlay affected

• Structural damage is definitely present.

• The amount of liquid has been present for a period of time where the liquid has penetrated surfaces with a low porosity such as concrete, brick and hardwood.

• Specialty drying and restoration services will be required.

• The area is not safe to enter.

The express carpet drying and clean up method.

The express carpet drying and clean up method is not a comprehensive guide for all flood and spill categories. There are some instances after you have made an inspection where you should isolate the area, contact the insurance company for further instructions and even on occasions, notify emergency services.

The express carpet drying and clean up method is best performed within 24 hours of the flood or spill occurring. If the flood or spill is not dealt with immediately, irreversible damage and problems can occur, leading to disposal and replacement being required.

1. A warning and reminder.

Many people get sick because they clean up flooded areas without taking the proper precautions. If you are in doubt of any situation, take no risks to your personal health or safety, isolate the area to reduce exposure to others and seek advice from your manager, supervisor, insurance company or a professional who is highly experienced and fully trained in flood and water damage restoration.

2. Safety first.

• Ensure the site is safe to enter. This includes electrical and structural integrity.

• Always wear protective clothing (PPE). Due to the contamination in some floodwaters and water damage... hand (gloves), head (hard hat), eye (googles), breathing (respirator), feet (sealed footwear) and protective clothing (coveralls) must be worn to avoid contact.

• Read the labels, Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and training information guides on any of the products or equipment you use.

• Only use electrical devices fitted with an RCD that has been tested and is working.

• Check electrical cords are in good condition, have a current test & tag and are undamaged.

WARNING: Do not use any electrical equipment unless a licensed electrician has checked and approved the electrics in the area as safe to use.

3. Inspect.

For more information on the below inspection step, refer to Section 4 of this training.

What type of flood or spill is it?

Category 1. Flood or spill from a clean source

Category 2. Flood or spill that can make people sick (grey water)

Category 3. Flood or spill that can cause serious illness or death if ingested (really nasty)

Assess how severe the flood or spill is?

Is your flood or spill a Code Green, Code Blue, Code Orange or Code Red?

4. Decide what to do next...

Category 1. Flood or spill from a clean source

Code Green

a. Complete the Express Drying & Clean Up Method immediately.

b. Call your insurance company to assess.

Code Blue

a. Complete the Express Drying & Clean Up Method immediately.

b. Call your insurance company to assess.

Code Orange

a. Contact the insurance company immediately and be sure to explain the seriousness of the situation.

b. Complete the Express Drying & Clean Up Method immediately.

Code Red

a. Contact the insurance company immediately and be sure to explain the seriousness of the situation.

b. Complete the Express Drying & Clean Up Method immediately.


Category 2. Flood or spill that can make people sick (greywater)

Code Green

a. Complete the Express Drying & Clean Up Method immediately.

b. Call your insurance company to assess.

Code Blue

a. Contact the insurance company immediately and be sure to explain the seriousness of the situation.

b. Complete the Express Drying & Clean Up Method immediately.

Code Orange

a. Contact the insurance company immediately and be sure to explain the seriousness of the situation.

b. Complete the Express Drying & Clean Up Method immediately.

Code Red

a. Isolate the area to prevent exposure to others.

b. Contact the insurance company immediately and be sure to explain the seriousness of the situation. Follow their instructions.

Category 3. Flood or spill that can cause serious illness or death if ingested (really nasty)

Code Red

a. Isolate the area to prevent exposure to others.

b. Contact the insurance company immediately and be sure to explain the seriousness of the situation. Follow their instructions.

What have you decided to do next?

If the category and code of your flooding situation indicate that you are safe to proceed with the Express Drying & Clean Up Method please continue. If not, please stop and contact your insurance company for further instructions. And in some cases, with some types of spills, you may be required to contact emergency services.


“The safety and health of you and those close to the flooded area should always come first. Wear PPE and be careful when inspecting affected areas. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

5. Remove furniture and other items

Remove all furniture and other items on the carpet area to be cleaned and dried. This may include rugs or fixtures like curtains and blinds.

If any carpet and/or underlay needs to be lifted and removed or any building materials such as plasterboard, ceilings, timber etc are damaged you should stop and contact the insurance company or seek a restoration specialists advice before proceeding with this method.

6. Extract (suck up) the liquid

Extract the liquid from the surface using a portable carpet extraction machine and suitable tool. Pass over each area 1 or 2 times working at a slow and steady pace. Then repeat this process until there is no more liquid being sucked into the waste tank.

During the extraction stage, there is no need to use the spray pump system. Just suck.

7. Express clean the carpet

Carry out the Express Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning Method. Ensure you add Odour Kill into the clean water tank. To visit the comprehensive guide on the express method for cleaning carpets and upholstery click here.



Use the Express Stain Removers to remove any difficult stains that did not come out in the cleaning process. One of the most common stains found in floods and spills is browning and watermarks (sometimes looks like a tide line!) This tends to show up after the area has dried. If you have the browning, follow the instructions on the 'Browning & Watermark Remover' product label or this product's Training Information Guide.


8. Start the drying process

Start your dehumidifier and run until the area is dry and the relative humidity level is back to 60%. If it's going to take some time to get a dehumidifier, ensure the air conditioner is running. This acts as a dehumidifier and will speed up the drying process. You can also use air movers to assist why drying.


9. Treat and decontaminate the carpet

• Apply the decontamination treatment to the surfaces at the source of the odour or contamination. Apply to a damp or dry surface.

• Agitate with a suitable brush, mop, cloth or disposable wipe.

• Allow the product to dwell on the surface. Leave, do not rinse off.

• This process can be done before and/or after cleaning.

10. Assess

Contact the insurance company or contact a specialist if required.

11. Clean and dry extended areas like hard floors

How to clean up and treat hard floors and surfaces (if applicable)

• Remove excess water and debris with your extraction machine fitted with a tile and grout cleaning tool.

• Apply Too Easy diluted 4:1 with water liberally to the surfaces and work in with a brush or scourer tool.

• Ensure these cleaning chemicals do not make contact with carpets.

• Scrub the surfaces with a machine, brush or agitating tool.

• Rinse off using your extraction machine with tile & grout tool fitted. Turn your spray pump, both vacuums and your heater on to MAX.

• Allow the area to dry before the area is opened to traffic.

Congratulations... You've finished this training!

Now you've heard the theory, it’s time for action and practice!

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions about this training or ideas on how we can improve please get in touch. We'd love to hear from you.

XO