How to cleanup and salvage wood furniture after a flood

After a flood, furniture is one of the things that hurt the most to lose, so here is some tips to help you salvage your favorite upholstered and wood furniture in the unfortunate event of a flood during Hurricane season.

Because of the terrible disaster Hurricane Harvey did on Texas, many people lost their mobility.

During our service visits to some of the victims, people were asking for our help to save their furniture because of the sentimental value or the cost of the item itself.

What to know about flood-damaged furniture

When it comes to flood-damaged furniture, there are things we need to assess to start the restoration process.

Clean or black water

First, we need to know the source of the flood, typically we see accidents with water supply pipes or anything related to the plumbing system, usually the water is not very dirty at all, in this case we have no problem treating the fabrics.

Wood or fabric furniture

Second, what is the furniture made of? Oops! Steam Cleaning specializes in upholstery steam cleaning and dry cleaning for special fabrics, but we don’t do much for wood items.

Solid wood furniture is vulnerable to water as you know, especially when not made with finished wood.

If the damage is severe (I’m talking about days or weeks flooded) the solid panels and tops can warp and break.

What to do for wood furniture after a flood

Whenever a customer comes to us with a piece of wood furniture damaged by water, depending how bad it is, we use equipment (such as air movers and dehumidifiers) to remove water and moisture from the area(s).

We advise to our customers:

To clean up mud and dirt with clean water using a hose.

Remove all the pieces that are easy to take apart like drawers, and open the doors (if needed) as soon as you can without forcing them, so yo don’t cause any more damage.

Don’t dry out in the sun or you may cause the wood to warp.

Be patient, sometimes water damaged furniture will take weeks, maybe months to dry out completely.

After assessing the damage, what Oops! Steam Cleaning can do for water-damaged solid wood furniture is, dry it out as much as possible so the item can receive proper restoration afterwards by a professional in this matter.

What to do when upholstery furniture gets damaged by floodwater

Floodwater is filthy water that contains bacteria harmful for any human life, even pets.

In case of heavy water damage, upholstery may not be possible to restore, and I’m sorry but it will be better for your health to throw it away.

When upholstery is more than 20% wet, mold and mildew may start growing fast since it is very easy for fabrics to absorb contaminants from floodwater.

On the other hand, if it was exposed to clean water for a short period of time than it can be salvaged.

However, the inspection must be done by a professional upholstery cleaner, to ensure there is no issue to worry about.

Sanitize upholstery furniture with steam

At Oops! Steam Cleaning, we deal with damp fibers and fabrics all the time, and this is what we do basically for common fabrics:

We treat the upholstery to eliminate harmful bacteria, and then steam clean (which is a plus to sanitize the fabric), and finish by spraying stain-protectant on the upholstery (it is optional, but we always recommend it because it is worth it in the long run).

If your upholstered furniture happens to be affected by water, quickly move colored fabrics and/or items off of it to avoid color bleeding.

Antique furniture (either wood or upholstered) may be worth the time and expense of restoration. Leave it to the professional to preserve its value.

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