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CARPET - Use a wet/dry vacuum to pull out as much water as possible.  Cut carpet on original seams.  Pull it up and let it dry out.  Discard the padding.

WOOD FLOORS - Pull up a few boards and use a wet/dry vacuum to pull out water underneath.  Dry out the wood as soon a possible.

WALLBOARD - If dirty floodwaters soaked the wall board at least 4 feet above the floor, take down all the wall board and replace it.  If the water was less than 4 feet deep, remove the lower 4 feet of wallboard.

WOOD FURNITURE - Put it up on boards or blocks and level it front to back and side to side.  Clean with soap and water or oil soap.  Furniture will dry in 4 to 6 weeks.

UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE - Unless furniture is antique or very valuable, it should probably be thrown out.  Cleaning should be done only by a professional.

APPLIANCES - Most large appliances should be professionally cleaned.  Consult an appliance repair service.

CAR - Cars that have water damage over the dash are usually considered a total loss.  For carpets and seats, use a wet/dry vacuum and let the car air out.  If the water was higher than the hubcaps, open the hood and let the electrical system dry out.  Have the grease in the wheel bearings checked to see if it needs replacing.

LAWN TOOLS - Flush out the oil and gas tanks or take them to an authorized repair service.

CLOTHES - Hang clothes to dry as soon as possible.  If clothes have picked up dye transfers, special treatment will be needed.

SHOES - Allow to air dry.  Do not dry next to an oven or heater.

PAINTINGS - Move them into a room that is fairly dry.  Bring the humidity level down to about 50%.  Consult a specialist to determine if there is long-term damage.

BOOKS - Put books in an air-conditioned room in front of a dehumidifier.  Do not use a hair dryer - it might burn the pages.  At the same time, put dry pieces of paper between each page.  Books may also need to be fumigated to kill mold spores.

POTTED PLANTS - Raise plants up on bricks to help drainage.  Keep them in the shade until they come out of shock.

FOOD - Discard opened containers and packages of fresh meat, fish and poultry and unopened jars and bottles with paper seals.  Do not use foods in canisters.  Discard food in paper, cloth, cellophane, foil or cardboard.  Throw away dented, bulging or leaking tin cans and jams and jellies sealed with paraffin.  Discard all fruits and vegetables which do not have a natural peel, shell or coating which can be removed before use.  Bottled carbonated beverages should be discarded if the caps are covered with silt.

            Undamaged tin cans can be kept if the can is washed and sanitized before opening and the food is boiled before it is eaten.  Fruits and vegetables should be washed in a strong detergent solution and scrubbed.  Soak in a chlorine solution (1 Tbsp. bleach/ gallon water) for 15 to 20 minutes (this same solution will sanitize cans).  Rinse with safe water, peel and cook thoroughly.


REFERENCES - Houston Chronicle June 28, 1989; "Emergency Food and Water" - Texas Agricultural Extension Service; REPAIRING YOUR FLOODED HOME - FEMA and the American Red Cross




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Last modified: 07/15/2013