cleaning your flood-soiled clothing and bedding is not the
same as doing the usual family wash. Items need to be sanitized
as you wash them. And your washing machine may be flood-damaged,
making machine washing out of the question until you can get
to a laundromat or friend's house. Nevertheless, you can help
prevent mildew damage to clothes and bedding by sorting and
drying items as soon as possible.
if your washing machine was not flooded, avoid using it until
you know that the water is safe enough to drink and that your
sewer line works. Before you wash clothes in the machine,
run it through one full cycle. Be sure to use hot water and
a disinfectant or sanitizer, such as chlorine bleach.
cleaning flood-damaged clothing:
wet items as soon as possible to keep clothing colors from
running together. Sort out clothing that should be drycleaned.
clothes and linens outdoors and shake out dried mud or dirt.
Hose off extremely muddy items to avoid clogging your drain
when you wash. If you don't have access to water, simply
dry things out.
possible, soak badly soiled items overnight in cold water
and detergent. Wring out and air dry if you're unable to
machine wash right away.
the labels on clothes and linens, and wash them in detergent
and warm water if possible. Adding chlorine bleach to the
wash cycle will remove most mildew and will sanitize the
clothing. Because bleach fades some fabrics and damages
others, use other sanitizers, such as pine oil cleaners,
an item is still stained after washing, rewash before drying.
Drying may make some stains more difficult to remove.
to be drycleaned should be air-dried and taken to a cleaner
as soon as possible.
and leathers are usually worth the cost of professional
cleaning. If you want to clean leather yourself, wash the
mud off and dry the leather slowly. Keep it away from heat
or sunlight while drying.
should be hung out to dry as soon as possible. Once dry, brush
off excess soil and dirt. Pillows, while washable, usually
should be discarded if soaked with contaminated floodwater.
and pillow cases. Put sheets and pillow cases through
two complete washing cycles. Use diluted liquid chlorine
bleach to help kill germs. Follow your usual drying procedure.
Put washable blankets (acrylic, cotton) through two
complete washing cycles. Air dry or use an automatic dryer
at proper temperature settings. Put wool blankets through
a drycleaning process either at a commercial coin-operated
facility or drycleaning plant. Shrinkage and the difficulty
of thorough cleaning make wool blankets troublesome to wash.
and comforters. Wash or dryclean depending on fiber
content of the bedding. Usually, it is best to wash cotton
general rule, inexpensive mattresses are not worth the expense
of professional sanitizing and reconditioning. They should
some cases, a good inner spring mattress may be worth the
cost of reconditioning. Get an estimate from commercial
the outside of the mattress is only slightly damp, brush
off surface soil and wipe with a cloth wrung out of a solution
of one cup denatured or rubbing alcohol and one cup water.
Your county family living agent, your local emergency government office, the American Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency
"Repairing Your Flooded Home," American Red Cross/Federal Emergency Management Agency, 1992.
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NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in
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