Where do you even start after water damage? It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when dealing with the aftermath of a water disaster. When you’re ready to start the clean-up process, there are some important things you need to consider for your safety. You might also be wondering what can be salvaged and what needs to be tossed. We’re here to offer some answers and tips to get you started.
Type of Water Involved
- When determining water damage, three water classifications are used to distinguish levels of safety and cleanliness for the repair process. Water classifications are relevant because hazardous water is more intensive to remove and disinfect than clean water. The classifications are clean water, grey water, and black water.
- Clean water is the easiest and least expensive to clean up because it contains little to no contamination. It is the cleanest and safest water to handle and remove. Examples include water from a leaking faucet, pipe, or hose or an overflowing bathtub.
- Grey water has minor contaminants from things like overflow from a dishwasher or washing machine. Increased contamination poses a slightly higher health risk.
- Black water has high levels of hazardous contaminants that may come from sewage or floodwater. Typically, all belongings that come in contact with this classification of water will need to be replaced.
- Your damaged property will likely need some professional cleaning. This may include walls, floors, and personal items affected by the disaster.
- Odor removers or fogging equipment may need to be brought in to eliminate odors.
- Some situations may call for sanitizing and disinfecting treatments to clean the home.
Items to Clean
- Electronics are made up of many components that may be damaged by exposure to water. Quick action is necessary to prevent the possible further damage of rust. Taking electronics to a professional restoration or drying service should save the majority of these types of items.
- Clothes can often be saved from water damage. It’s important to remember that some flood waters contain hazardous materials so proper precautions will need to be taken when handling dirty clothing. Rinsing off dirt and debris will be the first step. Clothes should then be washed in clean, hot water with heavy-duty detergent and a disinfectant. If clothing cannot be cleaned right away, at least get it hanging on a line and drying out to avoid mold. It may take a few cycles to get out all stains, smells, and health hazards.
- Any furniture made from particle board will most likely have to be thrown out. Metal or solid wood are more likely to hold up after contact with water. Any type of heavy padding, like in sofas, will most likely have to be tossed. These types of materials are difficult to dry out and susceptible to mold. Furniture with seat covers may be salvaged, but covers may need to be replaced.
- There are many pieces of paperwork that are vitally important, and luckily most types of documents can be saved from water exposure. Time is critical when it comes to restoring these documents. There are professional services that can restore photographs if you do not have them saved on the cloud or through another source.
- Documents must be separated individually and dried as quickly as possible before mold growth can begin. Even books can be spared if properly dried out with absorbent inserts between pages and airdrying.
Items to Dispose of
- Damage to specific furniture and other household goods depends on the type of materials and the quality of the items. Unfortunately, there are some items that will have to be replaced. Items that are more porous or have heavy padding will most likely have to be thrown out.
- Items that may need to be disposed of include mattresses & box springs, appliances, stuffed toys, food, drywall, carpet, padding, insulation, soft decorative items, and furniture made from particle board.
- Remember that Items that have come in contact with a black category hazardous water, like sewage, will most likely have to be replaced.
When you’re ready to tackle cleaning up after water damage, it’s important to do it right. Taking the right precautions when cleaning or disposing of items will be an important part of the restoration process of your home.
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