Flood water may have been contaminated so use gloves when handling clothing soiled by the flood. If possible, don't let flood water and mud dry on garments. |
Flood water contains bacteria that must be removed from water damaged clothing. Learn the proper steps to clean and disinfect flood damaged washable clothes.
Separate wet items as soon as possible to keep colors from running. Don't dry any clothes near a heat source. When clothes are dry, shake and brush to remove loose soil. Take clothes to be dry-cleaned as soon as possible. Tell drycleaner what caused damage. Rinse washable clothes in clean cool water until rinse water is clear. If hand washable, hand wash following these instructions: Work a heavy duty detergent into all stained areas and let stand for 15 to 30 minutes. If badly soiled, soak overnight in cold water and detergent. Test disinfectant on a hidden seam to be sure it doesn't harm the material. Add to the washing machine before the clothing. (Use Liquid chlorine bleach if it is safe for fabric. Pine oil is safe for most fabrics, but don't use either on washable wools or silks. Professionally dryclean.)
Follow care labels and wash with detergent in hottest water safe for the garments. Don't overcrowd the washer and wash for the longest cycle available. If an article is still stained after washing, rewash BEFORE drying.
For cleaning leather and suede:
Dry away from direct heat. Brush off as much mud as possible. Use mild soap suds and cool water to remove remaining dirt. Rinse with clean water and wipe gently with a clean cloth until dirt is removed. Do not get too wet while cleaning. Stuff shoes, handbags and sleeves with paper to hold their shape. Dry away from sun and heat. Clean with saddle soap. Use an oil to soften and prevent stiffening. The oil may darken the leather, so check before using. Use a suede brush on suede, brushing in only one direction.
Do not sort wet, contaminated clothing on surfaces where bacteria can be spread. Clean every surface that comes in contact with the contaminated clothing. Do not store wet clothing in plastic bags which will encourage mildew growth and stains. If you cannot clean clothes immediately, do not leave in a wet pile. Spread out the dirty clothes and allow them to dry individually before washing if necessary. If your washer has been contaminated with flood waters, it should be cleaned and disinfected before using. It should also be checked by a technician to be sure it is safe to use. If the soil in the flood waters is high in iron content, chlorine bleach can cause rust spots to appear on clothing. Separate treatment will be needed to remove the rust stains.
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