Rain, Rain, Go Away: Salvage Your Furnishings After a Flood

Unfortunately, a recent series of unexpected storms have caused a lot of local flooding! With so many individuals and communities in the Madison area being affected, we wanted to share tips on how to salvage your furnishings.

  • Time is of the essence! Evaluate quickly and be sure to bring a camera to document damage to assist you in filing a claim with your insurance.
  • Create zones of salvageable items versus pieces that must be thrown.
  • Take into account the cost of the piece and if its worth trying to restore.
  • Move salvageable furniture to a dry area or if it’s too heavy, place aluminum foil or wood blocks under the legs to raise it off of the wet flooring.

- Upholstery -

Upholstered furniture, including mattresses, that has been sitting in water for too long may be impossible to save and also pose a serious threat to your health because water encourages the growth of bacteria, mold and mildew. 

  • If you only experienced slight flooding, begin by separating colored upholstery to prevent the color from bleeding.
  • Upholstery is naturally absorbent so it likely harbors contaminants from the flood and will probably need to be thrown away unless it’s antique or very valuable. 
  • If you decide to keep your furnishings, its best to have them professionally cleaned to ensure a thorough inspection.

- Wood Furniture -

Hardwood pieces should be able to be restored after being dried out although joints or veneers may have to be re-glued. Water will cause warping in manufactured wood products like plywood and MDF.

  • Be aware that solid wood products can take up to a few weeks to completely dry and be prepared for restoration.
  • White mildew spots can be cleaned with a mixture of equal parts household ammonia and water. 
  • Avoid direct sunlight which will cause further warping during the drying process.
  • Cream wood restorers with lanolin will help restore the finish on solid wood furnishings.
  • For heavily damaged wood furniture, speed up drying by removing all parts that can be easily disassembled, like back panels, drawers, and doors.