A flood can be a devastating event for your home that you have no control over. Not only are floodwaters extremely damaging to structures, they can destroy many of your household objects. While electronics likely get ruined forever, there are steps that you can take in order to recover your clothes, rugs, curtains, blankets, cushions, and other personal items like toys and stuffed animals.
Water from a flood most likely contains tons of dirt, bacteria, and sediment that can set into fabric items if left alone for too long after the flood. This poses the risk of mold, mildew, and permanent destruction of items if not handled properly.
Follow the tips below in order to care for your personal items and restore your clothes after a flood.
Clean and Disinfect Clothes after a Flood
Clothing items are some of the easiest to clean after a flood because most washing machines and laundry dryers are sufficient to restoring clothing. Make sure that you don’t let clothes sit for more than a couple hours before cleaning, otherwise they may be permanently ruined.
Rinse mud and dirt off immediately. The first step to cleaning your clothes after a flood is to take a hose with cold water and rinse as much mud or dirt from the clothes as possible. This keeps mud from setting in or staining. In addition, if you put clothes with too much dirt or mud into a washing machine, that sediment can mix with the water and keep your clothes from getting clean or damage the machine. If you don’t have a hose, you can also hand-wash in cold water.
Wash clothes on the hottest setting that won’t damage the fabric. This helps with disinfecting from any bacteria that might’ve set in from the floodwaters, and simply provides a deeper cleaning than cold water does when it comes to mildew and mud.
Wash clothes with disinfectant. For white fabrics, simple chlorine bleach will be enough during a wash cycles. For color garments or specialty items, you can use other disinfectants like pine-oil based cleaners (Pine-Sol) or Lysol. Make sure to check your garment’s care instructions to make sure you won’t permanently damage the fabric.
Clothes & items that can’t be washed
When you have clothes that you can’t run through a traditional wash, you should seek dry cleaners immediately. This usually involves clothes like suits, dress pants, vests, delicates, dresses, and some toys and stuffed animals that have sentimental value. When it comes to furniture or larger items, you might have a harder time with water restoration Fort Collins.
A professional dry cleaner will not only clean all of the dirt and sediment from the garments, but they should also professionally disinfect your items to remove any bacteria that could cause mold or mildew in the future.
Final Tips for Clothes Damaged in a Flood
Probably the most important aspect of treating your clothes after a flood is making sure that you act quickly. The longer that you wait, the greater the chance that mold, mildew, or stains set into your items.