Remember, time is of the essence when trying to salvage valuables after a flood. As soon as you get home, find all the wet items you can pluck out of the water. They will be fragile so exercise caution when doing flood damage cleanup. |
Except for photographs, transfer wet items to a cool, dry place as soon as possible. Do not attempt to remove water or dirt by rubbing.
Carpets: Check the water before doing any flood damage cleanup. Carpets soaked with sewage pose a grave threat to your health and must be discarded immediately. Blot water out of carpets with fans or vacuum cleaners within the first 48 hours.
Wooden Furniture: Wet wood warps and cracks easily, so dry slowly. Use caution when moving wooden furniture as joints may be loose if glue is water-soluble. Doors and drawers must be opened but do not force if they are stuck. Set up fans and let wood dry slowly. Raise upholstered furniture and place fans underneath.
Paintings: Oil and acrylic do not easily run but it is extremely important to dry the canvas quickly. Tilt the frame to remove excess water. Remove the painting from the frame and dry separately. Paintings with rich textures should be allowed to dry facing up. If texture is minimal, it can be placed face down on a padded, absorbent surface covered with tissue paper. Place weights on the corners so the stretcher doesn't curl.
Photos: Photographs are one of the most difficult items to save during flood damage cleanup. Your instinct tells you to wipe them dry immediately. Don't! Remember one thing when it comes to photos: keep them wet. They will stick to each other as they dry so store them right away in a container with cold, clean water. While wet, you can carefully separate them from each other and rinse in cold, running water one by one. Use cotton balls to gently brush off dirt and rinse one more time after cleaning is complete. Hang your prints and negatives on a clothesline in a clean, dust-free, well-ventilated room.
Clothing: Separate whites and colored items to prevent staining. Metal attachments such as buttons and buckles should be removed and dried separately. If you cannot air-dry textiles immediately, place them individually in bags and freeze.
Paper: Paper is a top priority when doing flood damage cleanup. Sheets of paper must be air-dried. Smudged ink can be dried with blotting paper or paper towel. Lay out paper items for air drying.
Books: Books, especially if they're from a rare collection, are almost irreplaceable. So they're one of the things you would want to restore first during flood damage cleanup. If soaked in water, books with glossy paper should be frozen immediately to keep the pages from sticking together. For books that were not drenched, spread out the pages and let them dry out using fans set on cool.
Files and Folders: If you do not own a safe or other water-resistant storage for confidential files, recovering these important documents should be high on your flood damage cleanup list. Documents should be separated from their file folders, especially when the folder color is likely to stain. But do not attempt to separate pages if they're stuck together. Remove metal items such as pins, paper clips, and staples to avoid rust. Lay out documents on blotting paper or paper towels and leave them to dry.
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