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Home Repairs For Water Damaged Items
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Home Repairs For Water Damaged Items

Hearing that most items will have to be thrown away during a water damage restoration is a great shock for the majority of homeowners.

While you will have to part with many personal belongings, proper home repairs for water damaged items will help you avoid some replacements.

In this post, we will explain how to answer the hard questions, “Restore or not to restore?”, and recommend proper cleaning and drying techniques for the salvageable items.  

What Determines the Decision for Repairing Water-Damaged Items

It is important to understand that while it is possible to restore some items, you may still be recommended to replace them because of the hidden risks of contamination and high cost of repairs in comparison to replacement. Consider the following four factors to take a final decision:

  • Type of Water Damage.

Anytime anything is touch and contaminated by “black” water – flood water and sewage backups – it is recommended you immediately throw it away. It usually is not worth the risk or cost of cleaning.

  • The Porousness of Materials.

If you act promptly, porous materials like fabrics and wood can be easily saved and cleaned. If you wait too long or catch the damage to late and the saturation levels get too high though, there is a great risk of shrinking, deformation, and mold growth which would likely lead to replacement.

  • Time of Saturation.

Time of saturation is often a critical factor, as soaking makes water penetrate deep into the structure and causes irreversible damage to many items. Wooden furniture is a great example here: if items are not taken out of water soon, it is impossible to restore them to the previous condition.    

  • Replacement Cost.

Professional drying, sanitation, and deodorization of personal possessions is a lengthy and expensive process, which can exceed replacement costs. This is why emergency restoration experts immediately discard wet insulation, drywall, carpets, and pads in agreement with IICRC guidelines for water restoration. If the objects do not pose any emotional value, it’s better to ask your claim adjuster concerning the best course of action.

DIY Water-Damaged Items Repair

When you have decided to repair your stuff, make sure you act quickly and follow the proper cleaning procedure. Here is how to repair some salvageable items.

Computer and Appliances

  • Remove the battery from a laptop and disconnect any wires and plugs.
  • Leave the appliances to dry for several days in a dry and well-ventilated environment.
  • Do not turn the appliances on until they are thoroughly dried. Consult a professional before using the appliances again. If you have valuable information on your laptop, better take it to a professional technician too. Insufficient drying may cause a short circuit and permanent loss of all the data.


  • Wet clothes easily transfer dyes. Thus, the first immediate step is to separate while black and colorful clothes as you usually do before machine washing.
  • If clothes have visible mud and debris on them, remove those rinsing the clothes with a hose.
  • Disinfect the clothes
  • Dry in the sun to get rid of the remaining bacteria.

Books, Documents, and Photos

  • Carefully rinse the items removing any mud or debris.
  • Place absorbent paper towels on the photos, between every document or book pages. Replace towels as needed.  
  • The books, documents, and photos usually warp as they dry. You may iron the items on a low heat and place weight on the books to help straighten them. Some professional techniques of documents drying can be found in this post on our blog.

Wooden Furniture

  • Remove moisture from the surface using a towel.
  • If you suspect mold, use an anti-microbial cleaning agent.
  • Dry the furniture in the well-ventilated area away from the sun, as drying in the sun can cause additional warping.
  • Furniture that has swelled and warped can no longer be saved.

Upholstered Furniture

  • Upholstered furniture should be moved out to dry in the sun as soon as possible.
  • If the item has been affected by the floodwater, there is a high risk that bacteria remain in the upholstery. What’s more, damp padding may soon be contaminated with mold and mildew. To protect your health from the dangerous consequences, replace the item or at least reupholster it.
  • When the soaked upholstery is removed, the frame needs to be disinfected and deodorized.        

Toys and Stuffed Animals

  • Toys and stuffed animals should be washed on the hottest possible cycle. 
  • Dry the toys in the direct sun.  
  • If the toy cannot be watched using high temperatures, dispose of it to protect your child from potential exposure to harmful contaminants.

If you are going through the flood or any other water damage event, call in First Restoration Services experts for professional damage mitigation. We will gladly consult you on how to preserve and restore the items you are not willing to discard. 

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