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Water-soaked Bedding May Be Saved

You may be able to save water-soaked bedding.

“The key is the source of the water,” says [insert name and title] of [insert county name]. “If the water wasn’t dirty, then you can clean and sanitize the bedding. If the water was contaminated with fuel oil or sewage and the bedding was heavily soiled, get rid of it.”

If you decide to clean the bedding, the first step is to hang it outside to air out and dry completely. Once it is dry, brush it to remove excess dirt. Wear a dust mask while you are brushing the bedding. Then you must clean the bedding.

Wash bedding at a commercial laundry, using a large front-loading machine. Don’t overload the washer or dryer. Use the full water level, heavy-duty detergent and water as hot as possible for the material you’re washing.

Here are some guidelines for various types of bedding:

  • Blankets - Have wool blankets dry cleaned. Run washable (rayon, acrylic, cotton) blankets through two complete wash cycles. Air-dry the blankets or use a dryer set at the correct temperature setting for the material.
  • Sheets and pillowcases - Run them through two complete wash cycles, adding diluted liquid chlorine bleach to help kill germs. Dry them in a dryer at the highest temperature setting for the material.
  • Quilts and comforters - Wash or dry clean them, depending on the material in them. Washing cotton quilts is the best option. Wash them as many times as necessary until they are clean. Dry them in a dryer at the highest temperature setting for the fabric.
  • Pillows - Pillows are washable. However, throw out pillows that were soaked with contaminated water.
  • Mattresses - Discard regular mattresses. Foam-rubber and urethane-foam mattresses can be machine-washed, although most flood-recovery experts recommend you also throw out these types of mattresses. Check with a commercial renovation firm to see if a good inner-spring mattress is worth saving.
  • Box springs – Upholstered box springs may not be worth the cost of new covering and padding materials unless you can replace the padding, and the wooden frame isn’t too warped. Clean wire bedsprings thoroughly and leave them out in the sun and air to dry until all odors are gone. Then rub the metal with a cloth moistened with paraffin oil. Once the oil is dry, coat the metal with paint, preferable one that prevents rust from forming.

 For more information, visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/flood or www.extension.org/Floods.

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