Sewage Contaminated Rugs


Before working with "sewage contaminated rugs", know the laws and possible license requirements in your state.


The IICRC S500 (water restoration standard) and the S520 (mold restoration standard) both say that any porous material, contacted by sewage, should be removed from the structure. 


The S500 and S520 also say that high value, contaminated rugs can be cleaned ………..maybe.


Why the difference in attitude?  Cost and durability.

Sheetrock, is inexpensive, making any cleaning effort, that might work, more costly than replacement. Also, it would disintegrate. Other things, such as a commercial carpet, might endure the cleaning and disinfecting, but this might cost more than replacement.


Some rugs, that are saturated, can cost $10,000, or more. It can be worth spending as much as $1,500 to fix it. Rugs are often, structurally, very strong. Color bleeding is a possibility, but new products can help prevent it. Point out the possibility, of all potential problems, ahead of time! Well made, saturated, rugs can often endure the rug cleaning process.


Before doing the rug cleaning, talk to the materially interested parties. If the homeowner has decided, “it’s never going to work, I do not want this sewer infested rug in my house!”, a perfect outcome may be still unacceptable.

Also, talk to the adjuster. Make sure they know the cost of “attempting” to do the rug cleaning. Get paid, even if your attempt to restore, fails. You must get paid for your expertise, time & effort, overhead and materials…..not only results. I’m not saying you can fail all the time a get paid but, sometimes, it’s out of your control. Professionals don't always succeed, but they must, always, get paid for their time.


  1. Wrap the rug in a minimum 6 mil thick plastic for transport.

You do not want the viruses and bacteria spreading into your vehicle!


  1. Flush the rug with lots of fresh water, drain into a sanitary sewer system
  2. Soak the rug in EPA registered biocide, for about 24 hrs. Read the label.


If you do not have a pit, buy a plastic swimming pool or make one with pvc pipes and heavy plastic.


  1. Flush the rug, again. .
  2. Do the final rug cleaning with Bridgepoint Fabric Shampoo and rinse with Fab Set.
  3. Hang the rug to drip dry after extraction, if you have a rack. It can be dried on the floor, although hanging is the preferred method. 


NOW – call an IEP (indoor environmental professional) to test the rug. If you do not succeed in making the rugs clean, according to the IEP, you may have to repeat the process or……….discard them.


Meters, such as Bio Reveal, can let you know, if you have succeeded, and it’s time to spend the money on an IEP.


IF YOU DO THE PROCESS A SECOND TIME after the IEP inspection, the IEP must inspect it again, when you are finished.


REMEMBER – sewer contamination has deadly viruses and bacteria! Test.

        MAKE MONEY!


Dennis Klager
IICRC Instructor




Copyright 2012 by Dennis Klager