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Clean, Dry, Repair and Disinfect Cloth Furniture
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
In the event of home water damage, furniture and loose possessions found within the structure are also at risk for damage by water. They will have to be examined and a determination made as to whether they can be successfully repaired and restored or if they should simply be thrown out and replaced. One of the most common problems out there is water damage affecting cloth furniture.
Cloth or upholstered furniture may be successfully restored as long as it hasn't been submerged for an extended period of time, usually longer than 48 hours. After that, the cost of the cleaning process will probably turn out to be more than it would cost to replace it, so unless the item is a valuable piece or a personal treasure, you should probably opt for the replacement option.
Where to Begin
Before cleaning cloth furniture you should make sure you have the proper cleaners and disinfectants for the job and that the piece you are trying to save can in fact be washed and disinfected without inflicting further damage. The furniture may also become contaminated with sewage, pesticides, or chemicals, any one of which may present dangerous consequences.
A hose can be used to remove any loose mud and dirt from the cloth and dried mud should be scraped away or shaken out. The material should then be washed out and rinsed as soon as possible in order to prevent the growth of mold. Remember that upholstered furniture often has padding underneath, and if that becomes wet then it may cause new problems since padding holds water much like a sponge.
Most upholstered furniture will need to be stripped down to the frame, allowing the fabric to be cleaned while at the same time examining the frame and springs to see if there are repairs to be made or if the damage is too great to consider repair.
Salvaging an upholstered piece will involve the repair of the wooden frame as well as treating it with a solution designed to protect against mold and other water related problems. The frame should be allowed to dry in a well-ventilated area, but sun drying is not recommended as the wood may dry too rapidly and warp. Check the frame periodically for mildew and remove whatever you find as soon as you can. Mildew will continue to be a pesky problem until the moisture levels are brought back under control. You will also have to reglue any loose joints to avoid squeaks.
Cloth furniture water damage can be repaired and the item restored, provided that you exercise some patience and resist the urge to hurry.
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