Flooding, whether due to a natural disaster or a broken pipe, damages more than just your home. Valuables, including irreplaceable items, may also fall victim to the damaging waters. The following tips can help you salvage some of these important items.
Tip #1: Be Gentle
Gentle handling of all wet items is key to increasing their chances of survival. If dirt or silt has settled on a wood or metal item, rinse it off with a gentle stream of water. Do not try to wipe dirt or scum off with a rag – this will just force the soil into the fibers. Often, dirt and scum doesn’t pose an immediate risk to an item that has been subjected to water. Most textiles, including fabric and leather, won’t absorb the dirt as they dry, so you can just leave the dirt in place until later.
Tip #2: Dry Properly
Although you are likely in a hurry to dry out your items, you don’t want to move so fast that you damage them beyond repair. Your best option is to move everything to a covered area, such as a garage or dry room, and spread everything out to dry. Trying to speed up the process by placing items in the sun can actually cause more damage, since the sun will bleach textiles or weaken adhesives. Instead, rent dehumidifiers and high-powered fans from a restoration company. Use these in the room to encourage speedy drying and minimize the chances of mildew, all without causing sun damage to anything.
Tip #3: Shape Carefully
Not all items should be laid flat to dry. For example, baskets, shoes, or shaped leather items should be arranged so that they maintain their shape as they air dry. Gently stuff shaped items with an absorbent towels to help them dry properly. Replace the towels daily so they don’t interfere with the drying process by holding onto too much moisture.
Tip #4: Prepare for Help
While it’s possible to handle the initial collection and drying process on your own, you will probably need help to restore your items. A water damage restoration company has the equipment to help repair dye runs in textiles such as rugs, repair water-damaged leather, or refinish wood that has been damaged. As your items dry, collect any pieces that break or come loose and keep them in an open plastic tub so they can also dry. The restoration company will need all the loose pieces to fully restore your items.