How to Properly Sanitize Clothes after a Flooding

Clothes and other home fabrics can get all muddy and dirty following a home flooding occurrence. The San Diego Water Damage Restoration Contractors’ Association says the good news is that most flooded clothes and home fabrics can be salvageable. The key is to properly remove the dirt and flood debris first before washing and then thoroughly disinfect.

The North Dakota State University emphasized cleaning and removing the mud first prior to washing as the crucial initial step before thoroughly disinfecting flooded home textiles. According to their flood clean-up guide, removing debris makes it easier for the washing machine to clean and disinfect the clothes. At the same time removing these debris can help avoid problems with the washing machine processing to much dirt.

“Remove muddy residue by hosing down, rinsing, soaking or prewashing. Use cold or cool water and laundry detergent to remove as much mud as possible. Avoid hot water since it may set stains. Separate wet items to keep clothing colors from running together, and sort out clothing that must be dry-cleaned. Washing machines that have been flooded should be cleaned, dried out and checked by an electrician. Then disinfect the washer by running 1 cup of chlorine bleach through a cycle with no fabrics.”

Read the rest of the instructions here.

Pre-treat flooded clothes

The Cleaning institute of America also recommends removing the dirt from the clothes first prior to washing, plus an additional step of pretreating heavily soiled garments.

“Pretreat heavy soils with a prewash soil and stain remover or an enzyme presoak product; follow label directions. A prewash soil and stain remover works well on oil-based stains like animal fats, body soils, cooking oils, cosmetics and motor oils. An enzyme presoak works well on protein stains like blood, body fluids and grass.”

The rest of the step-by-step cleaning procedure here.

The San Diego Water Damage Restoration Contractors’ Association says except for comforters and mattresses and pillows that soak up dirt and mud, other home textiles can still be safely cleaned, disinfected and safely reused following a flooding incident. It is however important that immediate pre-washing and treatment be undertaken so that dirt, mud and microorganisms do not get to stick much longer unto the clothes.

For those with stubborn dirt and stains, disposal is recommended. Reusing the fabric as a rug of some sort can just be dangerous as the fabric may already be harboring germs and other contaminants which could just infect the newly cleaned and sanitized post-flooding environment.

Super Dry San Diego Flood Restoration
10801 Vista Sorrento Pkwy, San Diego, CA 92121

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