‘Soil’ is any unwanted matter on the surface of any object that one desires to be clean. Clean surfaces are actually an unnatural condition, because they are constantly being soiled. In order to clean a surface, it is necessary to work against nature, and special care must be taken to ensure that all soil is removed and not redeposited on the surface.

Most ‘soil’ is acidic in nature – and with flood or water damage, fine particles work their way to the bottom of the carpet pile or fabric where they can become trapped by compacted yarns and fibres.

Fine particles (0.1 microns) have a significant effect on visible soiling. These particles, although by weight are minimal, actually are responsible for the soiled look of the carpet. Large particles fall to the bottom while fine particles may be trapped in the abrasions and imperfections of the fibres.

“Carpet filters soils, pollutants, gases, and animal dander. Like any filter, it needs to be cleaned.”

Nearly 80% of the soil is insoluble which means that it does not dissolve in water or solvents. The best and most thorough way to remove insoluble soil is through cleaning.


Categories of Water Damage

Category 1 – The first category of water is Sanitary Water and it poses no major health risks to you or your family.  You can drink it, wash with it, or (if it is steaming), you can inhale it safely.  Most of the water that comes into your home will be Category 1 until it leaves its source; either a supply line, an appliance, or melting snow or rain.  Category 1 water is also called “Clear Water.”

Once clear water leaves its source, however, it can quickly become contaminated and deteriorate to Category 2 or 3.  Water with a foul odour is a good indicator that it has been mixed with soil or other pollutants.

Category 2 – This water is definitely contaminated and is unsafe for either contact or consumption by you or your family.  Category 2, or Gray Water, is typically “overflow” water from an appliance, toilet, aquarium or waterbed.

Like Clear Water, Gray Water will also deteriorate and become foul smelling.  This process will take less time to become toxic and should not go unattended for long.

Category 3 – This category of water is grossly contaminated and may be highly toxic to you and your family.  Called “Black Water”, it may contain raw sewage, pesticides, heavy metals or toxic organic substances.

Unlike the first two categories, Black Water will have a foul smell and likely contain pathogenic, toxigenic, or other harmful agents.



Class of Water is determined by the probable rate of evaporation based on the type of materials affected, or wet, in the room or space that was flooded.  Determining the Class of Water is an important first step, and will determine the amount and type of equipment utilised to dry-down the structure.

Class 1 – Low end of the scale.  Minor extraction required and few if any materials affected.  Quickest drying time.

Class 2 – Middle of the scale.  Entire space, or room, flooded with wicking less than 2 feet up walls.

Class 3 – High end of the scale.  Usually designates flooding from above.  Ceiling and walls saturated above the 2-foot level.  Heavy extraction required.

Class 4 – Unique or Specialty drying situation.


Soil Extraction

Once soils have been suspended, they must be physically removed from the carpet. Various cleaning methods accomplish extraction include absorption, wet vacuuming, rinsing or vacuuming of dry detergent residues and suspended soils.

Increased temperature during extraction improves the cleaning agent efficiency. Temperature during extraction should be limited to 60 degrees Celsius for carpets on cut pile wool, on non-colourfast carpet, and on velvet plush pile designs that might be subject to distortion when extreme heat of 70C plus is combined with high-pressure injection (over 300 psi).

A professional carpet and upholstery cleaner will use powerful machines that quickly remove standing water, but won’t damage your carpets, rugs or furniture – with some amazing results.