What Types of Items Can be Restored After a Flood?

After flooding strikes your home, a major part of the ensuring recovery process is deciding what to keep and what to discard when it comes to items that have been contacted by water. Not all things are worth the effort or cost of cleaning and restoring in the aftermath of a flood. Other items, like photos and mementos, may well be priceless.

Professional water damage recovery services can advise you on what to expect when it comes to attempting to salvage possessions, as well as refer you to specialists in saving/restoring specific articles such as electronics. Here’s a general rundown of typical contents in a household and if/when these items can be saved.

  • Clothing affected by Category 3 “black” water containing raw sewage or toxins from outdoor flooding should be discarded due to health risk. If clothes were contacted only by Category 1 flooding—i.e., “clean” water from a ruptured indoor water supply line—washing with detergent and bleach or professional dry cleaning, according to the fabric type, should be sufficient.
  • Solid wood furniture may be saved if wiped down, then air-dried. Laminated wood doesn’t withstand water exposure well and will usually be discarded.
  • Padded furniture exposed to Category 2 or 3 toxic water usually isn’t worth saving, given the expense of replacing contaminated padding. If it’s an unreplaceable antique or item with sentimental value, consult professional furniture restoration services.
  • Photographs saturated by clean water and not affected by mud or other substances can be carefully separated while still wet, then allowed to air dry. If photos have dried and stuck together, or incurred other damage, contact a photo restoration specialist if the pictures warrant the expense.
  • Consumer electronics saturated or completely submerged aren’t likely to be a good candidate for salvaging—if it’s even possible. Replacement is the best option. If a particularly valuable component is deemed to be worth the cost of a specialist in electronics restoration, however, make sure you don’t power up the unit at any time before it’s turned over to the technician. Unplug it now and leave it unplugged.

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