Putting your house safely back in order after a flood is a big job, and laundry is a big part of it. Here’s how to get started getting rid of the dirt and germs a flood can leave, while keeping your baby safe.
If your pillows and mattresses have been soaked in flood water, you may have to discard them. Mold, which can create dangerous health situations, grows very quickly (within 24 hours) and large absorbent items such as mattresses are extremely difficult to get completely dry. The Red Cross’s flood recovery handbook also contains helpful information on large household items.
Smaller items, such as clothes, bedding or soft toys that may have been contaminated by flood water, should be put in a washing machine at the hottest temperature possible (140 degrees or the highest temperature recommended on the label).
Always remember to wash contaminated items separately from those that haven’t been contaminated. (To make sure you’re not transferring any germs or bacteria, clean your washing machine first and between loads by running a small amount of detergent and household bleach through an empty machine).
You may not be able to wash synthetic fabrics at a high enough temperature to be sure they’re really clean. Check the label and wash them at the hottest temperature recommended. Add ¼ cup of household bleach to the load, and rinse twice.
Sunlight helps destroy bacteria, so hang the clothes outside to dry if possible. Once the laundry is completely dry, check the items for mold. If you find any, or the clothes still smell, you can try washing them at a higher temperature, but you may have to throw them away.
(Courtesy: FB page of Irrigation and flood control, J&K)