Salvaging flooded clothing


Water damaged clothing needs to be cleaned and sanitized immediately. (Photo Credits)

Most people may think that indoor or residential flooding may not be as dirty as the floodwaters that come from the outside. While that may be true, there is a kind of indoor flood water that can be even murkier than that which come from a typhoon or a rainstorm.

Flooding from an overflowing toilet or backed up sewer may possibly contain a lot more germs and bacteria than the usual flashfloods. So when murky indoor flood waters hit clothes cabinets or any pile of clothes for that matter, it is best to clean it up if it is still salvageable.

The Disaster Handbook 1998 National Edition of the Department of Food and Agricultural Sciences of the University of Florida recommends thorough washing and disinfection so as to adequately clean clothing that may have been contaminated with dangerous bacteria.

“Work a heavy duty detergent (liquid) or paste of granule detergent into all stained areas. Let stand 30 minutes. Follow care labels and wash in hottest water safe for garment with detergent. Use bleach if recommended for garment. Sanitize with a disinfectant. Always test on an inconspicuous seam to be sure it does not harm the garment. Add to washing machine before adding clothing.”

Download the whole guide here.

More measures to salvage water-damaged clothing

The American Cleaning Institute also came up with a comprehensive guide on cleaning our clothes that have been exposed to murky flood waters.

“Since clothing may have been contaminated with sewage, it is important to add a disinfectant* to the wash. Use liquid household bleach (sodium hypochlorite), following label directions. (Note: If there is a large amount of iron in soil deposits or in the water, liquid household bleach can cause rust stains to appear on fabrics. Also, check garment labels before laundering; some fabrics cannot be washed using liquid household bleach.) If liquid household bleach is not recommended, a color-safe (oxygen) bleach will also help remove stains and odors and will not set rust stains. Some detergents have color-safe bleach or bleach alternative built into the product. However, remember that these products do not disinfect.”

Read the rest of their guide here.

The North Dakota State University also provided a guide for its students and readers, in saving and disinfecting flooded clothing. While their advice resonates that of the articles that have been mentioned above, they also came up with additional tips. 24hr Water Damage Repair San Diego CA

“Salvaging Dry-cleanable Textiles — Take items outside and brush off any wet or muddy items. Don’t rinse because water can harm the textile. Allow the textile to dry in the sun to prevent mold growth. When dry, take them to the dry cleaner for cleaning. The dry-cleaning chemicals and steaming help reduce the level of contamination in the textiles.”

Check out the rest of the material here.

Seeking professional help in cleaning flooded clothes can also be a great option especially to those who may not be able to deal with the flooded clothing quickly.

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