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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Saving Your Stuff After a Flood

8/5/2021 (Permalink)

washing machine covered with mud, table, couch, chairs, small refrigerator covered with black water Items damaged by floodwaters in Lake Johnson, NC.

After a Flood, How to Save Your Things

A flood in Lake Johnson, NC, can cause substantial property damage. Fortunately, you can salvage a good amount of your stuff with a thorough content cleaning technique:

  1. Rinse
  2. Clean
  3. Disinfect
  4. Dry

What follows is a method for determining what items can effectively be restored and the standard process for doing so. Before starting, you should outfit yourself with protective gear and verify it’s safe to return home.

Identifying Which Items Can Be Restored

Floodwater is likely black water, meaning it can contain sewage, toxic chemicals and microbes. For an item to be salvageable, you need to completely disinfect and dry it quickly before mold can grow.

Restoration experts say in general, items should have a hard surface and be impervious to floodwater so all the contamination remains on the surface. There are exceptions, such as clothing, but larger items, such as mattresses, might be difficult to fully remediate and dry before mold begins to grow. Other items such as wood or upholstered furniture or electronics may be able to be recovered by a professional.

Straightforward Content Cleaning Method

After identifying savable items, the first step is to rinse anything covering the item’s surface (ex. mud) to free it up for cleaning. Next, use hot water and a heavy-duty cleaner to scrub off any impurities left on the item. It’s best to use paper towels that you can simply dispose of.

To neutralize any lingering toxins or microbes, it’s critical to disinfect using a water-bleach mixture ranging from two tablespoons per gallon of water for things like dishes to a one-quarter cup per gallon for surfaces like walls and cabinets. It’s important to not use bleach on any metals. Boiling water can be used as a substitute.

Drying out items can help protect against any mold growth. It’s ideal to leave items outside in the sun to speed up the drying process. You should also have your windows open, using fans to facilitate drying.

Dealing with floodwater can be stressful. However, a standard content cleaning process can maximize the property you recover while keeping restoration manageable.

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