Can Water Damaged Clothing Be Saved?

Of course it is no secret that water can be the single most destructive force that can affect your home, and we have already looked at how it can impact your flooring, rugs, drywall, and other elements.  But what happens when your wardrobe is flooded out and you’re left without a thing to wear?  Can you salvage the situation or is it time to break out the credit card and hit the mall?

Water damaged clothes photo

Water damaged clothing

As with most cases of water damage, the ability to save your clothing items depends largely on how badly they were affected, the type of water, and the length of time they’ve been wet.  However, most people tend to focus on other areas of water damage, and rightfully so.  As a result, clothing often gets overlooked until it is too late to salvage.

Some people choose to store their water damaged clothing in garbage bags or other containment units for days on end.  This is ill advised as it may speed up the growth of mold and mildew which can permanently damage the items.

If possible, empty your clothes closet and examine each item individually.  Separate your clothing into three piles: darks, colors and whites. Determine the damage to each piece and ask yourself if it is worth saving.  If not, throw it out.  Once you end up spending more to save an article of clothing than it would to replace it, it becomes an exercise in futility. 

Water damaged clothing and insurance coverage

If you are filing a claim with your insurance company then it’s be a good idea to ask them for their water damage textile cleaning company of choice and have them pick up your items and take care of them themselves. They will document each piece of clothing and take them to their plant for cleaning and decontamination. Typically they are able to rush a few items for you so you have clean clothes to wear the next day, but this is a lot more expensive than their regular service. These textile cleaning companies specialize in textile cleaning and are not regular dry cleaning companies. They use state of the art methods to clean your clothes including liquid carbon dioxide dry cleaning methods which can be better suited to some items compared to traditional solvent-based processes.

If clothes are seriously soiled or muddy and you are taking care of them yourself, then use a hose to remove as much of the mud as possible before making any attempt to wash.   You should also clean and disinfect any surface that comes in contact with water damaged clothing. Laundry sanitizers can be added if manufacturer directions allow for them, this will reduce odor and microorganisms. As an alternative to chlorine bleach you can use sodium percarbonate or sodium perborate – both of these can produce similar results.

Water damaged garment cleaning

Water damaged garment cleaning

You’ll need to dry out each piece, then machine wash and dry them in order to restore them to their original state.  Wash on the hottest setting allowed as per the manufacturers recommendations in order to rid the clothing articles of any contaminants.

After washing, inspect for any leftover stains.  If they are apparent, don’t dry them, as that will set them in permanently.  Instead, soak them overnight in a bleach solution then run them through the wash cycle again.

When it comes to drying, again, dry on the hottest setting available.  White clothes can be hung out to dry as ultraviolet rays from the sun will help kill any remaining bacteria. 

Of course, your washer should not be used at all if it was damaged or affected by flood waters.  If this is the case, have the unit inspected by a qualified technician before any further use.

It should go without saying, but clothing that has been soaked by sewage based flooding should simply be thrown out.  I’m not sure why anybody would have to be told this, but moving right along…..sewage contaminants are serious business, bringing with them major health threats and other issues.  Save yourself the stress and wasted effort and just throw the articles out.  Treat yourself to a new wardrobe.

As always, water damage restoration is best left to the professionals.  Your local Clean Trust certified restoration company is available 24/7 to take care of even the largest problems.  All work is 100% guaranteed, and same day service is available in most cases.  Call today for an estimate.

Water damage Austin and Water damage Waco are both PuroClean businesses that are amazing water damage companies and both locations have access to textile cleaning companies that specialize in water damaged and mold damaged garment cleaning. Call today.

About Dan Camara

Dan Camara is the CEO of PuroClean Home Rescue in Sacramento. We have been helping the good folks of Northern California with water damage dryouts, mold removal and fire cleanups for nearly 5 years now. Connect with me on Google+
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One Response to Can Water Damaged Clothing Be Saved?

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