After the Flood: What You Can Keep Vs. What You Must Toss

by | Aug 24, 2023

The implications of flooding are severe due to the extensive damage to your possessions. The aftermath can be overwhelming, and the process of assessing the damage is intricate. As a result, there’s a need to seek professional restoration services. After the water recedes, you must make informed decisions on the items to discard or salvage.

If you are wondering whether your debris-filled old carpet, damaged furniture, moldy drywall, and ruined baseboards can recover, we’ll provide you with all the answers. This guide explores some of the items you can keep or dispose of.


Assessment Procedure

Before you seek out items after flooding, you need to observe safety and hygiene measures by wearing protective gear and taking necessary precautions. Assessment aids in determining the extent of damage and the actions to take. Here are some of the parameters to consider during the assessment process:

Prioritize Health and Safety

Floodwater leads to contamination, mold development, and toxins. Before entering your property, you must be cautious of electrical hazards and structural damage. It’s prudent to wear protective gear, including boots and gloves. You should check on the structural integrity of your home and look for cracks, warping and other damages that compromise safety.

Categorize Items

You should separate items based on their condition due to exposure to flood water and contamination. Salvageable possessions must have minimal or no water exposure, and you can clean and use them. Unsalvageable items are severely damaged or contaminated and can’t be used. On the other hand, potentially salvageable items can be used after being cleaned. It’s crucial to consult restoration professionals to assess potentially salvageable items.

Consider the Materials

Different materials have different capacities to withstand water damage. Porous materials like fabric, upholstery, and paper are prone to mold development and may not be salvageable. However, non-porous materials like glass, metal, and plastic can be cleaned and disinfected.


Items to Salvage After the Flood

Some items can be salvaged after exposure to flood water through proper cleaning and restoration. Here are various things you need to consider keeping after the flood, based on their condition and possibility of recovery:

  1. Sealed Non-Porous Items: If you have items that you can easily clean after flooding, it’s recommendable to salvage them. These items include canned goods, non-perishable packaged foods, metal utensils, kitchenware, or sealed glass jars with non-perishable food products.
  2. Linens and Clothing: Some clothing and linens can be salvaged if they haven’t been significantly contaminated by floodwater and have no mold. You can launder them with hot water and disinfect them for use.
  3. Crucial Documents: If you have documents sealed in waterproof envelopes or stored in elevated places, you can salvage them. However, you need to dry them carefully to prevent mold growth.
  4. Non-Porous Decorative Items : Decorative items like glass, metal, or plastic moldings can be cleaned and disinfected and may be salvageable.
  5. Sealed Personal Care items: Sealed toiletries, cosmetics, medications, and personal care items that haven’t been exposed to water could be safe to use.
  6. Hard Surface Electronics: Whether your electronics have been submerged in floodwater or heavily damaged, they can be salvaged if they have a hard surface that has protected the interior components.
  7. Non-Porous Furniture: Metal or plastic furniture that hasn’t been submerged and is in good condition can be salvageable. However, it would help if you disinfected them thoroughly.
  8. Personal Items: Items with sentimental value, including heirlooms, may be salvageable if they haven’t been heavily damaged. Our restoration professionals can guide you on how to go about it.
  9. Sealed Cleaning Supplies: Sealed cleaning supplies that haven’t been exposed to flood water can still be helpful.


Items to Discard After the Flood

If your items are heavily ruined, contaminated, or pose potential risks, you must dispose of them properly to avoid health hazards. Some of the items you should toss after the flood include:

  1. Porous Materials: Items made of porous materials can absorb flood water that harbor mold, bacteria, and contaminants. It’s not easy to clean them thoroughly, and you need to discard them. Some of these items are:
  • Old Carpets and rugs
  • Mattresses and pillows
  • Upholstered furniture
  • Stuffed toys
  1. Paper Items: If your paper products have been soaked in floodwater, they are unusable and prone to mold growth. As a result, Paper-based decorative items, newspapers, books, and documents should be discarded.
  2. Destroyed Building Materials: Building materials, including drywall, flooring, and insulation, may absorb flood water and can cause structural issues and mold growth.
  3. Perishable Foods: Perishables can be easily contaminated by floodwater and must be disposed of to avoid severe health issues.
  4. Mold-Contaminated Items: Mold growth on your possessions can be hazardous. Mold can lead to respiratory tract issues, and items like Upholstered furniture, fabrics, and wood with mold should be discarded.
  5. Hazardous Chemicals and Materials: Chemical containers or hazardous materials should be disposed of. Such containers can pose a safety and health risk if left unattended. If chemicals are directed to aquatic life or streams of water, they can be hazardous to the environment.
  6. Electrical Appliances: If your electrical appliances have been exposed or submerged in floodwater pose a safety risk. It would be best to dispose of computers, television sets, kitchen appliances, and other electronics after floods.
  7. Contaminated water-damaged Items: Items in contact with contaminated flood water can harbor toxins and bacteria. It’s prudent to discard personal care items exposed to floodwater or those possessions that can’t be recovered through cleaning and disinfecting.


Wrapping Up

Deciding on what to keep and toss after a flood needs careful consideration. You also need to prioritize your health and safety and consider the material, exposure, and contamination level. Our professional restoration services help you to assess and salvage items you might consider lost. Our emergency water remediation company helps mitigate the damages caused by flood water and enables you to recover your valuables.

At Restoration Maintenance, we provide multifold services, including water removal and decontamination. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our flood restoration specialists, who’ll aid in assessing the damage and determining the items you’ll salvage or discard today!

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