Water damage, whether from fire-fighting, flooding, burst pipes or other mishaps, can ruin clothing and other fabrics. Water damage is not always immediately visible, but can worsen in a short amount of time. Bacteria, mold, and mildew can begin growing in wet or damp items, so it is important to begin restoration as soon as possible.
The success of restoration efforts depends on what kind of water affected the items and how long ago the damage occurred. Waiting more than 72 hours significantly reduces the likelihood that the items can be restored. If you do not have time to wash soiled clothing right away, or if your washing machine / laundry room was also affected and cannot be used, bring them to us for a professional dry cleaning. Dry-clean-only items that have been water damaged can usually be restored by a regular dry cleaning as well.
Kinds of water damage
In cases of severe flooding, no matter where the water came from, it has probably come into contact with many other substances present in your home and surrounding areas. For this reason, it is important to be careful handling water damaged items that are still wet. Wear gloves or wash your hands with clean water and soap after handling them.
- Thoroughly dry water-damaged items outdoors or on a drying rack in a clean room. Putting the items in a dryer will set in unpleasant smells, black mildew spots, and other stains.
- Machine-washable items with mild damage can be washed with laundry detergent and vinegar to help kill germs and neutralize odors.
- Contact a professional water-damage restorer or dry cleaner for items that are not machine-washable or are severely damaged.
- If garments are still wet, lay in the sun to dry. Dry heat and light help to kill mold. If your item is labeled dry clean-only, take it to a cleaner after it is dry.
- If your item is washable, fill washing machine with warm water and regular amount of detergent. Add ½ cup borax and let mildewed garments soak in this solution for up to 4 hours.
- Run regular wash cycle.
- If garments still show signs of mildew, do not put in dryer. Apply a mixture of lemon juice and salt to mildew spots and dry in sunlight.
- Machine wash again.