As residents of the Houston area continue to clean up and tear down, and begin to rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, here are some ideas for salvaging items to help save money in the long run.
• Clothes, towels, and bedding that have been in flood water can be saved! It just takes a little work. Use a powerful detergent, like Young Living’s Thieves Laundry Soap or Persil ProClean, and set your washing machine on hot and heavy duty. Pre-soak the laundry for at least 30 minutes, adding two cups of white vinegar after the water has finished filling up. Add in the extra rinse cycle, too. Repeat at least once and closely inspect laundry for any lingering bad smell before putting it in the dryer.
• Tile floors can also be saved, but in the case of sewer water coming up through the bathroom plumbing, it is best to remove them. Removal is also the best choice for any tile that is laid upon subflooring or wood floors. Tile directly on the concrete slab is salvageable. If you think your kitchen tile or tile in other areas can be saved, here’s how to clean it – use a product containing Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) mixed with water and scrub thoroughly using a brush. Wear gloves and even a facemask while cleaning as this product is very strong. Clean up the wash water with a wet-vac, then wash again this time using a 1 part bleach to 5 parts water mixture. Allow to dry completely before applying any tile or grout sealant.
• When tearing out flood-soaked cabinets, you can try to save the countertops for your rebuild. Some granite or other stone pieces may be too large and crack once the cabinets underneath have been removed, so use caution that broken pieces don’t land on you. Faucets and other fixtures can likely be salvaged as well.
• Disinfect all kitchenware including utensils, cooking utensils, dishes and bowls by soaking in 2 tablespoons of bleach with one gallon of boiling hot water for 10 minutes. You can also place utensils directly into boiling water for 10 minutes, but do not use bleach in this method. Allow items to air dry. In kitchen cabinets that were not touched by flood water, be sure to clean with a disinfecting solution before replacing dishes and other items.