It is a very gigantic task to clean up things once flood waters have receded.  All belongings and things including clothes are bound to be soaked in muddy, murky waters, prone to various bacteria and infections.  Hence, one needs some extra care in order to clean them up

Muddy jeans on a clothesline isolated on white
Muddy jeans on a clothesline isolated on white

Here are some useful tips on how you can rescue your clothing from water damage after a flood.  For clothes other than dry clean you can follow the instructions below

Normal clothes.

In the first place kindly sort spoiled clothes, pile up the washable, dry clean, whites and colored fabrics separately.

  • Once sorted get the residue, dirt, soil and loam scraped from the clothes by rinsing or pre washing them as soon as possible. Do not put muddy clothes directly into the washer. It is advisable to use a dusk mask and gloves to avoid exposure to infection.
  • Prewash the fabrics in cool or hottest water as recommended for the cloth. Laundry detergent or a cup of pine oil disinfectant can be used normally and for white cotton fabrics you can always add 1 cup chlorine bleach to complete the wash cycle.
  • Inspect the clothing for remaining stains and if needed wash them after an overnight period of soaking in oxygen based bleach, Clorox or regular laundry detergent. It can also be put into the washer if you are satisfied with the stain removed.
  • Drying of clothes is recommended to be done directly under the sun, for ultraviolet rays that will help kill bacteria or in a Dryer at the highest heat recommended.
  • If the flood water soils are high in iron content and chlorine bleach is not effective on these spots, separate treatment has to be done to remove rust stains.

For dry clean clothes

  • The dry clean clothing may require it to be dry cleaned a repeated number of times in order to make it look clean. However, it would be feasible to replace the garment with a new one than bearing the expenses of dry cleaning it a couple of times.
  • Always take the clothes to professional dry cleaners and make sure you tell him that the clothes were soaked in filthy waters of flood.

How to avoid Mold damage?

Mold or growth of bacteria in clothing, fixtures, furniture and other places are the most feared aftermath of floods. Mold usually grows in soggy or moist conditions.  It grows fast, hence needs to be controlled as soon as noticed.  Clothes are the most susceptible place for mold to grow, here are a few tips to remove it quickly and swiftly before it speedily grows to become a problem of great concern.

  • Vinegar is a very helpful, effective way of removing mold stains and its odor. It can be used repeatedly before being washed in a detergent.
  • You can always take the clothing out and brush off the loose mold growth. Your house is hence safe from mold spreading.
  • Leave the clothes with mold under the sun, this will help kill the bacteria.
  • You can always wash the clothes in hot water and dry it under hot scotching rays of the sun, this will kill molds instantly.
  • Chlorine bleach can be used to sponge the contaminated area. Lemon juice and salt also can be used as a successful alternative for bleach.
  • You can always use a moldicide, the chemicals that can remove molds easily. A fungicide spray to remove the mold odor can complete the mold removing process.


Clothes are the major carriers of infection and diseases in a flood effected scenario, it hence becomes very important that they are cleaned and sanitized in a well-mannered way to avoid major health hazards, especially for children.  If necessary you can repeat the wash, rinse and dry process repeatedly to attain the required quality cleaning and avoiding mold growth.  It is always suggested that wet, swampy clothes not be stored in humid conditions and dried off well to avoid molds and related problems.


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