saving water damaged furniture San Francisco
In San Francisco, while much of the year is dry, the winter can bring torrential rain and storms which can cause serious flooding. Water can cause an incredible amount of damage to your valuable items, such as appliances, books, photographs and furniture. It is imperative to clean and dry these items as soon as possible, as some of them can still be salvaged.
This task can seem overwhelming, and it may be best to call in a professional restoration company that specializes in water damage. However, if you are faced with a pile of soggy household items, there are a few immediate steps you can try.
Books, Papers and Photos
The loss of irreplaceable family photographs, documents, books, and other important papers can be devastating to many people. However, these items are not necessarily beyond repair. They can be frozen until you have time to restore them. Dry the paper items in a cool, dry place with air circulation.
Very wet books should be dried flat with sheets of absorbent material such as paper towels in between some of the pages (but if the book has coated paper, use wax paper to prevent the pages from sticking together). Change the sheets frequently and check for mold. Books that are only a little damp can be dried with the pages fanned open in a room with circulating air.
Important papers and documents should be air dried until just slightly damp, then placed between sheets of absorbent paper with a lightweight sheet of glass on top. Photographs are extremely fragile when wet and are best left to a professional conservator. You may try gently soaking them in lukewarm water if they are stuck together, then dry them in a single layer face up, on a flat surface with plain paper towels.
Carry furniture, rugs and clothing to a dry place with a dehumidifier, fans or an open window for air circulation. Flood water may contain dangerous chemicals, sewage or other contaminants, and since upholstered furniture can soak up a lot of this water, it may need to be professionally cleaned. Wood furniture should never be dried in direct sunlight or it can warp.
If the wood has only mild water damage, it may be possible to remove water stains with a mixture of wood cleaner and a few drops of orange oil or a spoonful of mayonnaise, applied with a soft cloth. Lightly brush the wood with #000 steel wool dipped in mineral or linseed oil, then wipe off the excess oil with the soft cloth.
For more extensive water damage, a professional with experience in furniture restoration is your best bet.
Due to possible chemical or bacterial contamination, all kitchen items must be carefully cleaned and disinfected. Soak dishes and glasses in a solution of bleach and hot water, then air dry. Pots, pans and silverware should be boiled for at least ten minutes in plain water with no bleach.
Attempting to clean water-damaged appliances yourself can lead to electric shock or electrocution. Debris or mud in a grounded outlet can prevent the grounding system from working properly. A licensed electrician can safely clean, test and repair your appliances. Usually the motors, valves and any electrical components that were wet will need to be replaced.
Flood restoration in San Francisco can be a challenging task, but if you act quickly and decisively it is possible that your home and at least some of your household items can be restored to their original condition.