How to Handle Damaged Textiles

One of the most frustrating parts of dealing with a disaster that strikes your home or business is all the things you lose. Floods and fires can damage everything you have. Many textile companies keep a great deal of inventory on hand, and you may worry your goods are beyond repair when you begin the restoration process.

Can you restore these pieces? Read on for our guide on dealing with damaged textiles.

What Are Textiles?

Textiles include anything made from natural or artificial fiber, such as upholstery, carpets or clothing. They might be woven, knitted or crocheted.

Textile Restoration

Textiles are fragile, and so it may at first seem unlikely that you could revive a badly damaged piece. The good news is that there are ways these textiles can be restored instead of replaced. It actually costs more for an insurance company to buy new textiles than to pay for them to be cleaned. Since many fabric goods have nostalgic as well as monetary value, you may also prefer to pursue restoration rather than replacement.

Depending on the situation, there may be some textiles that can’t be saved because the damage is too great. These can include:

  • Textiles with sewage or other dirty water on them.
  • Textiles with fiberglass or chemicals embedded in them.
  • Textiles that have been discolored or shrunk due to water damage.
  • Textiles with mold on them.

When you handle the textiles, use personal protective equipment, including gloves and a mask. Put the pieces on something to move them, such as an unsoiled tablecloth.

Treating Textiles Before Cleaning Them

Whether you are restoring garments or working on upholstery restoration, the early process is the same. Determine if an item can be saved, and then assess the damage. You will need to use a disinfectant to clean the piece. Bleach can work on white or other light items, or you can try color-preserving bleach.

First, remove all the dirt and debris that can be lifted by hand. Do this outside using a garden hose, if possible. Shake off the item every few minutes and continue to run water over it until you have removed as much as possible.

Next, sanitize your washing machine by running a cycle with hot water and bleach. Then, wash the damaged textile on the gentle cycle. Don’t wash anything else with the damaged items, and be sure to use the hottest water cycle available. If the textile seems sturdy enough, run it in the dryer on a low setting to kill germs. If the piece appears too fragile for the dryer, put it out to dry in the sun.

You can also iron the garment or upholstery as a final step. In addition to making the textile look nicer, this process also eliminates lingering germs.

You may have some textiles that seem so severely damaged they can’t be fixed — that’s when you call in the experts. Let our contents restoration team take a look at your textiles. We can assist you with saving your business’s inventory or your home’s treasures. Get in touch today to learn more about our restoration services.


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