Damage – Water

Water damage, whether from fire-fighting, flooding, burst pipes or other mishaps, can ruin clothing and other fabrics. Water damage is not always immediately visible, but can worsen in a short amount of time. Bacteria, mold, and mildew can begin growing in wet or damp items, so it is important to begin restoration as soon as possible.

The success of restoration efforts depends on what kind of water affected the items and how long ago the damage occurred. Waiting more than 72 hours significantly reduces the likelihood that the items can be restored. If you do not have time to wash soiled clothing right away, or if your washing machine / laundry room was also affected and cannot be used, take the items to a professional dry cleaner. Dry clean only items that have been water damaged can usually be restored by a regular dry cleaning as well.


Do not put quilts stuffed with cotton batting in the washing machine – the stuffing will get bunched up and clumpy. Hand wash in a large laundry tub or bathtub. Use ½ cup vinegar to help dissolve all of the soap suds. Do not put in the dryer – line dry outside, preferably in the …

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Black water

Black water is water that is contaminated and unsanitary. It may not always appear “dirty,” so it is important to know the source of the water. Flooding from sea, river, and lake water is classified as black water because of the presence of microorganisms and unknown chemical pollutants. Sewage water is also black water. Items …

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Grey water

Grey water is water that has biological organisms, contaminating chemicals, dirt, or other organic matter in it. It may have a cloudy appearance and would be unsafe for human consumption. Examples of grey water are used laundry or dish water, toilet water with urine but no feces, fish tank water, and water from a water …

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Clean water

Clean water is water that has no contaminants or organic matter in it. If your clothing was damaged by water from a fire hose, broken water line, clean toilet, sink, bathtub, or rain/snow/ice, then it has clean water damage. However, if water that was originally clean has been left standing for more than 48 hours, …

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Kinds of water damage

In cases of severe flooding, no matter where the water came from, it has probably come into contact with many other substances present in your home and surrounding areas. For this reason, it is important to be careful handling water damaged items that are still wet. Wear gloves or wash your hands with clean water …

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