A home purchase is one of the largest financial investments a person can make. Therefore, most people take great care to maintain their homes, showing pride in their belongings.
When natural disasters, namely weather-related events like hurricanes, flash flooding, tornadoes or fire threaten your home when you least expect it, you can feel overwhelmed. These incidents may damage your personal property and leave a mess in their wake. Yet, with proper cleanup procedures, you can minimize the damage to your belongings.
Here are some tips for water and fire cleanup, courtesy of SERVPRO(R), a national cleaning and restoration company.
There are certain procedures you should follow when cleaning up water damage:
* Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting. Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and tabletop items.
* Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions for even drying. Check for bleeding of color.
* Turn air conditioning on for maximum drying in the summer; open windows to speed drying in winter.
* Remove oriental rugs or other colored rugs from wet wall-to-wall carpeting.
* Open drawers and cabinet doors for complete drying -- do not force them.
* Punch small holes in sagging ceilings to relieve trapped water. Don't forget to place pans underneath! If possible, stay out of rooms where ceilings are sagging.
* Do not use your household vacuum to remove water.
* Do not turn on electrical appliances, like TVs, while standing on wet carpets and floors -- especially concrete.
Though fire damage is less common than water damage, here are some cleanup tips. Only follow them after your home is deemed structurally safe by fire professionals.
* Limit movement in the structure to prevent soot from becoming embedded in the upholstery and carpets.
* Blow off or brush-vacuum loose soot particles from upholstery, drapes and carpets.
* Clean and protect the chrome on kitchen and bathroom faucets, trims and appliances with a light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.
* Pour antifreeze solution in sinks, toilet bowls and tubs if the heat was off during cold weather.
* Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air vents.
* Do not attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without first contacting a professional restoration service.
* Do not attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture.
* Do not use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat or water -- they may be contaminated.