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What to Keep and What to Discard after a Sewage Backup? Personal Belongings.
By Jim Brown
In addition to salvaging building materials, you probably want to salvage as many of your personal belongings as possible. Making the decision of what to keep and what to discard following a sewage backup is a tough decision, especially if some of the items are irreplaceable or have great sentimental value.
Hire a professional
Hiring a professional cleanup and decontamination company will increase the chances of salvage. The knowledge, experience, and special equipment of a professional company will allow a thorough dry out which will prevent additional bacterial growth and allow an efficient decontamination and disinfection of affected areas.
Indoor Furnishings and Personal Belongings
- Upholstered furniture may be impossible to salvage if it has been badly soaked in gray or black water as fabrics will absorb a dangerous amount of sewage water and bacteria.
- Hardwood furniture can be salvaged if dried and decontaminated thoroughly with 24-48 hours and no mold growth is found.
- Laminate furniture should be discarded if the laminate has become delaminated as this will allow contaminated water to penetrate into the pressed wood layer.
- Furniture made of particle board or pressed wafer board should be discarded as they are very likely to absorb sewage water and bacteria.
- Appliances and electrical devices must be carefully examined, preferably by an electrician. Discard all circuit breakers and fuses that have been submerged. If dark water penetrated into your appliances, do not use them until they are determined clean and safe.
- Window drapes can mostly be dried and restored using different techniques depending on the type of fabric. It is recommended to send them to a professional dry cleaning facility. These facilities will have the techniques to remove odors as well.
- Toys and play equipment must be discarded. Discard all stuffed toys. Even if you think you can completely clean and disinfect these items, keep in mind that they may badly affect your child's safety. Discard any item a toddler or baby might put in his mouth.
- Fabrics, clothes and linens are very hard to clean and salvage. You may want to consider sending damaged fabrics and textiles to a professional dry cleaning facility.
Food and Kitchenware
- Discard all foods and medicines, including garden produce, that have come in contact with flood waters. Only foods sealed in airtight metal cans that are not bulging or damaged and have been properly sanitized can be saved.
- Clean and sanitize dishes, cooking utensils and food preparation areas before using them.
- Discard wooden cutting boards, plastic utensils, baby bottle nipples and pacifiers, since it's nearly impossible to safely clean them.
What to Keep and What to Discard after a Sewage Backup? Building Materials