Storms, floods, water damage, and other issues that can impact you and your family are always a possibility. You want to be prepared as best you can.
But sometimes, disaster strikes. It can be somewhat containable, such as a pipe that breaks while you are home and able to turn off the water. Other times, it can be flood waters entering your home during a storm and creating havoc with all your belongings.
One important category of personal belongings that can become damaged by water (whether clean water, dirty water, or sewage) and that you would think is easy to clean up would be clothing, or garments. Just think of how many items of clothing are in your home. Can be a staggering number.
The cleanup may not be as easy as you think. Consider these quick tips:
The source of damage
Most of your clothing can be saved, but if the damage is from sewage backup or other bio-contaminants, it is best to discard and buy new. While you want to save what you can, think of the health of your family. Anything damaged by sewage or bio-contaminants is best discarded.
Separate and conquer
Another step is to separate your laundry just as you would normally, but also create a category of “heavy soil” — such as clothing heavy with dried mud. Take those items outside and do your best to break off hardened mud and use a garden hose to remove as much as possible after that, and then after drying, launder them as normal. You don’t want to damage your washing machine by using it for muddy clothes.
Now it’s time to get to business with all those dirty clothes. Use quality laundry detergent and an appropriate disinfectant. Use hot water as practical. Here’s a very important tip. Don’t overuse the detergent. You might think because of the soiling that more detergent is best. It’s not. Use what manufacturers recommend and follow directions. If you need more cleaning, just rewash clothes repeatedly. A repeat washing continues to flush out soils.
Be safe, be smart
As you can see, tackling storm or water damaged clothing can be intensive, and we have only touched the basics here. Often, your damaged belongings are covered by insurance. Check with your insurance carrier. But for all restoration work, no matter the situation, do the smart thing. Call a water damage restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Drying out Water Damaged Papers
With the arrival and impact of electronic devices, such as smartphones and tablets, many have given up their favorite pastime of reading paper newspapers and books. But if you look around your home, you may still find plenty of books, documents, and valuable paper products that you prefer over the electronic variety — or that you just can’t get rid of.
Many of these items end up in the basement or other storage areas, and just when you least expect it, can become damaged from moisture, a broken pipe, flooding from storms, or a failure of your sump pump. Water damage can come from many sources. When that happens, it’s time to dry everything out, and that’s not always easy.
The first step is to wipe off and remove as much excess water that you can, without damaging the paper.
For loose papers, such as documents, lay them out individually on absorbent cloths and then carefully blot. If using paper towels, make sure they are pure white, with no color print on them. Loose papers are fairly straightforward to dry. Some air movement from a small fan can help the drying process. After drying, you can compress the papers to flatten them out.
For books, very carefully open the covers of each book, and stand your books upright on a stack of several, absorbent pure white paper towels. Place several layers of absorbent towels inside the covers, and gently close them. Allow the towels to pull moisture from the pages; replace them as they get wet, checking frequently. As you progress, carefully open pages, perhaps every 20-30 pages or so, and place more towels or cloths inside those pages, closing the book, allowing moisture to transfer into the towels or cloths. Keep the book on its sideas you do this.
Eventually, as the book dries, you can open the pages, and put the book in front of a fan to continue drying out the pages.
What if you have many books or documents, and they are valuable and must be saved and you don’t have the ability to do it yourself? That’s when it’s time to get some professional help. Put your damaged documents or books in the freezer. It’s now time to contact your favorite disaster restoration company for help. After all, it pays to call a pro!