Water Damaged ClothingWhether it's a hurricane, flooding, burst water pipes or flash flood, most of us have had to deal with clothing that was soaking wet for hours, if not days or weeks. You might think that clothes are meant to be wet - after all, you wear clothes out into the rain. However, clothing isn't meant to be submerged for hours at a time, and some types of fabric are not meant to get wet at all. It's important to dry out the clothing properly in order to minimize the damage.
General Water Repair
For most clothing that is OK getting wet, the main issue is to remove the mold and dirt and to dry out the clothing. Remember that mold can be toxic, so you want to be cautious about breathing without a filter near the clothes. If at all possible, rinse the clothes out thoroughly with a garden hose before you put them into a washing machine. Run the clothes through on a cold water cycle without any detergent the first time. That will get the main "larger" gunk out. Then run them through a second time with detergent, on the hottest cycle that can be used. If your washing machine has a "sterilize" setting, use that on anything that can handle the heat. If you don't have a washing machine that has these features, ask around to your neighbors and friends to see if they do. Remember, we're talking about clothing that will be sitting against your skin all day long. If you leave something toxic in the fabric, it can cause you serious health problems.
Leather Clothing Water Repair
Leather is of course cow skin, treated to repel stains. Leather can typically handle rain. However, like any natural product, it can easily get mouldy if not dried out properly. You don't want to do this in a "warm" way - warmth will encourage mold growth. Find a cool place and hang up the jacket or item. Wipe it down with a leather cleaner with a soft cloth, to get off any dirt, mold or other gunk. Remember that mold can be toxic, so wear a filter mask. Set a fan up so that the air drying happens quickly - mold can take hold in under 2 days. If you have a dehumidifier, run that as well to help remove the moisture from the air.
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