Flood waters damage the contents of a home, including special garments and essential items made of fabric. While everyday clothes can be laundered or dry cleaned, heirloom textiles require special handling. Heirloom tex- tiles, such as wedding dresses, quilts, special garments, rugs, or draperies, may contain different types of fibers. Dry-cleaning can be used to clean some fibers (rayon, wool, and silks), while other threads (cottons or linens) can be gently hand-washed with a laundry detergent such as Woolite.
When dealing with flood damaged textiles, recognize that different materials will react differently when wet. Wet textiles may be more fragile or shrink or distort as they dry. Dyes can transfer from one fabric to another. In this document, preservation professionals offer general advice on how to salvage textiles after a flood event.
Download this PDF document to learn more about saving wet textiles after a flood.