Home > Mom's Life > Managing Your Home > Home Improvements > Cleaning Possessions and Valuables After a Flood

Cleaning Possessions and Valuables After a Flood

In This Article:

Page 2


Again, assess what you have and assign priorities for what you'll work on first. Set aside all photos that you think you can reprint from negatives. Focus on images that you don't have negatives for. It's important to work quickly here; as pictures dry, the emulsion on their surfaces will make them stick together. Once they do that, you might not be able to save them. Mold growth is also a problem as it can damage fragile emulsion.

Handle all wet photographs carefully and only by their edges as much as possible. If you have lots of them to work on, rinse them off with clean water and seal them up in a plastic garbage bag or a plastic bag with a zipper-type seal. If you have time, put pieces of wax paper between each picture. Freeze them until you can get to them. When you can, defrost, separate, and air dry.

If you can't freeze them or even refrigerate them, rinse them all in clean water. Dry face up in a single layer on a clean surface. Don't dry them in direct sunlight—this can scorch the paper and damage the emulsion. Don't worry if they curl as they dry; a photo restorer might be able to flatten them out when they're dry. If not, you should be able to have copy shots made of them.


A Fine Mess

Don't hose or sponge off painted furniture without checking it first. If the finish is blistered or flaking, let the piece air dry before cleaning it.

Gently rinse off wood furniture with a hose sprayer set on fine, or sponge off. Blot surface water with cloth or paper towels.

Water can cause veneer layers to separate. If this happens, weight or clamp the areas. Put a soft cloth under the weight or clamp to protect the finish To speed up drying, remove all drawers and shelves. You want to expose as many surfaces as possible to the air.

Finished and/or painted furniture often develops a white haze or bloom when damp. It's unsightly, but it can be repaired later. Don't worry about it now.

Upholstered furniture can be tricky to restore. Start by rinsing it off. If you can remove the covers from cushions and pillows, do so and hang them up to dry. Wrap the piece with towels or sheets-this will soak up water from the frame and other immovable parts-and let it dry.


Heirloom and antique pieces should be assessed as quickly as possible by a restoration expert. It's best not to attempt to dry or clean these yourself.

All other artwork should be taken out of their frames and allowed to air dry. Paintings on stretchers should remain on them.

<< Previous: Page 1

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Common Household Disasters © 2005 by Paul Hayman and Sonia Weiss. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

thanksgiving crafts & recipes

Make this Turkey
Day fun for the
whole family with
these essentials.



3 Fun Thanksgiving Games for Kids
Looking for some great Thanksgiving games to play with your kids? Print our free Pin the Feathers on the Turkey game, Pin the Hat on the Pilgrim game, and Thanksgiving Parade Bingo game for loads of laughs this Turkey Day!

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

8 Surprising Sources of Caffeine in Kids' Foods
Even low doses of caffeine can have an effect on your child's health. Since the FDA doesn't require caffeine content on food labels, learn about hidden sources of caffeine in kids' diets.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!