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Knowing What To Try To Salvage And What To Throw Away After A Basement Flood

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If you are experiencing a flood in your basement due to an overflowing river, you most likely contacted a water damage specialist like those at RTC Restoration to assist with the removal of water and drying of the structure. While they are busy with this task, it will be up to you to figure out what items are most important to save from the damaging moisture in the area. Here is a quick rundown of what items you have a chance of saving and which are better off being placed in a dumpster after a flood.

Save Clothing And Other Items Made Of Material

If you have clothing or other cloth items that had become wet during a flood, you may be able to save them if you take fast steps in laundering them appropriately. Since mold spores can settle into fabric, it is important to rinse each piece of cloth thoroughly before attempting to wash it. Hang all items on a clothesline or rack and use a garden hose to rinse away any mold spores present. Place the items inside a washing machine with a water conditioning agent, disinfectant, and laundry detergent. This combination will kill off mold spores. Place the items in a dryer on a high-heat setting afterward.

Throw Away All Edible Items To Reduce Risk Of Illness

It is not worth trying to salvage food items that had become wet during a flood. This is especially important if the water that came into the home was from an outside water source like a river or lake. If you had been storing food in your basement, as many people do in case of an emergency, it is better to buy new items instead of risking the health of anyone who attempts to eat something from the stash. If packaging has a pinhole in it, bacteria would get to the food.

Throw Away Plastic Children's Toys To Avoid Contamination

If your basement is finished and you have children, there is a chance you have some plastic toys they used while playing in the area. Plastic is porous in nature, making it a bad idea to keep these items around small children. While you could attempt disinfecting the plastic with bleach and water, there is still a chance harmful bacteria made its way into one of the voids in the plastic. The risk of a child putting a finger in their mouth after touching the surface is too great. Toss these items and buy new ones.

Try To Save Wooden Furniture With Appropriate Cleaning Steps

If you have wooden tables, chairs, or a desk in your basement, there is a chance you can salvage these items if they are dried in their entirety. First, the items will need to be rinsed to remove any surface debris. Afterward, place the items outdoors in a shady but dry area. Turn them upside-down so any water within the item will drip to the ground. 

A bleach-based wood cleaner can be used to help kill mold spores. Rub petroleum jelly on any marks caused by standing water touching a piece of furniture. Mildew can be cleaned up with turpentine if necessary.

Throw Out Paperwork As It Will Be Riddled With Bacteria

Unfortunately, any documentation you have in your basement will need to be thrown away. Moisture will ruin paperwork, making it turn into a pulp as a result. Paper items will be infused with bacteria from the water that had made its way inside the home. If documents are still legible, take photographs of them with a cell phone and upload them to a computer so you can print them out.