Judging what you should keep and discard can be a difficult task after your home has suffered water damage.

Of course, anything that cannot be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected should be thrown out, along with any items that have been submerged for an extended period of time.

To help you figure things out, we’ve put together this helpful guide to give you an idea of what’s okay to keep and what you should toss:

Water-Damaged Items That Can Likely Be Saved

  • Upholstered furniture can likely be saved given that it hasn’t been submerged in water for more than 24-48 hours and shows no sign of mold. A good sunbath to dry out and follow-up disinfectant spray shower should help.
  • Clothes, fabrics & linens are salvageable if they can be washed and/or dry-cleaned. Drapes can typically be dried and restored using techniques that vary depending on the type of fabric.
  • Hardwood furniture is okay to keep if you can dry it out within 24-48 hours and there are no symptoms of potential mold growth.
  • Dishes and cooking utensils are fine to keep, but should be sanitized before the next use.

Discard These Water-Damaged Items

  • De-laminated furniture and furniture made of particle board or pressed wafer board should be discarded; it’s highly unlikely that you will be able to restore it to its pre-loss condition.
  • Toys, play equipment, and stuffed animals that are water-logged or cannot be cleaned or properly disinfected should be tossed.
  • Any food and/or medicine that came into contact with the flood water should be thrown into the trash.
  • Baby bottle nipples, pacifiers, wooden cutting boards & plastic utensils are also on the list of items that are recommended to be tossed and replaced.
  • Electronics should be inspected by an electrician to determine whether they are safe to keep or should be tossed.

In the event that you suspect that you’re dealing with category 2 or 3 water damage, you may be better off consulting ServiceMaster Absolute to determine what possessions can be salvaged or tossed. The last thing you want to do is keep something that came into contact with water laced with sewage or chemical/biological pollutants!

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