A flood can be devastating. Whether a few inches of water filled your home or the flood was on a large scale, filling your home, once you’re back, you’re faced with the task of salvaging. The good news is that most solid wood furniture can be salvaged after water damage. Here are some simple steps to follow after a flood to salvage your furniture:

Take Photos

After any flood, it’s wise to take photos of the damage done to your home for insurance purposes. You can take general photos and then closeup pictures of your furniture and the most damaged areas.


Flood waters often come along with mud and dirt. Wipe your furniture down with a soft cloth or brush. Try not to rub in the dirt, instead use soft strokes to gently brush dirt away. You may need to use water to get any dirt that’s really stuck on to come off. Then, dry your furniture using a dry cloth.

Dry it Out

You need to try to dry out your furniture as soon as possible. Keep it in a shaded area as the sun can cause the wet wood to crack and warp. If you still have a bit of water in your home or your floors are wet, use bricks or blocks to hold your furniture up off of the floor. You can set up fans or dehumidifiers to help keep the air moving and speed up the drying process. Avoid using any sort of heat (hair dryers, irons) to dry your furniture as this will damage the wood.

To help your furniture dry out more quickly, open any cabinet doors and remove drawers. These may be stuck due to the wood swelling from the water. If they’re stuck, don’t force them out, but check them regularly as the swelling reduces so that you can eventually remove them while drying completes.

Manage Mold and Mildew

Unfortunately, the damp environment created by the flood water is the perfect environment for mold and mildew to grow. Mildew and mold spores are everywhere and begin to take hold whenever they find a nice, moist, warm environment. So, keep an eye on your furniture while it’s drying. If your furniture has been damp for more than about 48 hours, it’s likely you’ll deal with some mildew or mold. You’ll need to clean it off using a cloth dampened with a mild, soapy water solution. Alternatively, you can mix up some white vinegar and water, spray it on your furniture and then wipe it down.

Upholstered Furniture

Any upholstered furniture that’s been submerged in flood waters will likely require re-upholstering. Leather and vinyl upholstery are typically more resistant to water damage than fabric based upholstery. You can try drying it out first, but if the furniture smells musty or shows major water stains, you’ll probably have to resort to more invasive methods.

Veneers and Glues

Flood damage may cause any veneers on your furniture to begin peeling off. In addition, any furniture that uses glue may begin coming apart as water can cause the glue to breakdown. In the best interest of your furniture, you’ll need a professional to help you make repairs and place new veneers on your furniture.

Using the above methods, you can salvage most furniture that has suffered light flood damage. However, in some cases, too much damage has been done and the furniture may suffer warping, cracking or severe mildew and mold growth. In these cases, get the help of a professional furniture restoration team to help evaluate and restore your furniture to its original state.

Need an expert in water damaged furniture? Contact Rahn’s at 562-758-8276 for professionals in all furniture restoration.

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