Flood Inventory: Furnishings Worth Salvaging After a Flood
It’s dangerous for your health to keep furniture that’s been contaminated by black water from a flood. But could you dispose of your upholstered antique chair just like that? There should be a solution other than disposal, right?
Items that absorb and retain water well—like wooden and upholstered furniture—are likely to develop molds within 24-48 hours if they don’t get dried thoroughly. Mold is linked to upper respiratory tract symptoms, so you don’t want it in your home.
But there are some mold-prone furniture that can still be disinfected and restored, depending on how long they’ve been sitting in the flood.
Mattresses, sofas, and upholstered furniture
As much as possible, you want to dispose of mattresses, bed foams, sofas, and all upholstered furniture unless they hold special value to you.
These highly absorbent materials didn’t just absorb flood water, but also its harmful pollutants and microorganisms. Cushions and upholstery may also take days to dry. Thus, mold is sure to develop, especially if these have sat in water for a long while.
But if you have a really expensive upholstered hardwood, you may still be able to recover a portion of it. Consider hiring a professional to remove the upholstery and restore just the wooden frame.
Carpets and rugs
For sanitary reasons, it is also best to dispose of wall-to-wall carpets and rugs that were soaked in flood water. If you decide otherwise, it’s best to get a carpet and rug cleaning company that specializes in flood-damaged carpets. The company’s technicians may separate the pad from the carpet, clean the carpet, and replace the pad if it’s already damaged.
Dry the carpet quickly with a water absorbing vacuum cleaner to prevent mold and mildew from growing if it wasn’t contaminated by flood water. You can shampoo it after, then repeat the drying process before reusing the floor covering.
Wooden furniture and flooring
Furniture and flooring made of hardwood may still be restored, especially if they were properly treated. Processed wood, like plywood and medium-density fibreboards, on the other hand, are not worth keeping.
To salvage hardwoods, transfer them to a dry place immediately. If they’re too heavy to move, prevent its base from further absorbing more water by lining it with aluminum foil or a wooden block. For bigger furniture, you may need to disassemble the pieces and let each one dry before putting them back together.
Scrub off mold using a bucket of warm water with two caps of bleach and three caps of liquid detergent. Rinse and dry. You can remove stains by using wood cleaner with drops of orange oil, stain stripper, or sandpaper.
Linoleum, tile, vinyl, and laminate flooring
Plastic and tiles are easier to deal with because these don’t absorb and retain water. Hosing off mud and dirt, wash with detergent and disinfect. Use a disinfectant with a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Registration Number on the packaging to make sure your product meets the agency’s requirements.
A flood brings with it pollutants and bacteria that may contaminate your home structure and furnishings. You may be compelled to dispose of these items. Consider salvaging these or parts of these whenever possible if certain pieces hold big monetary or sentimental value. Otherwise, prioritize your family’s health and get rid of them as soon as possible.