KOVELS OFFER ADVICE ON FLOOD-DAMAGED ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES The water has receded, but your antiques and collectibles are still at risk. What should you do to salvage them? Here are tips from "Dealing with Disaster," a special report by Ralph and Terry Kovel.
News-Antique.com - Nov 30,-0001 - The water has receded. Your family is safe; your home is intact; but your antiques and collectibles are still at risk. What should you do next to salvage your collection? Here are some tips from "Dealing with Disaster," a special report by Ralph and Terry Kovel.
Remove any standing water and turn on the fans. If the problem is severe, the fire department can help. Some cleaning companies have special equipment, too. If the problem is not too bad, a wet/dry vacuum can be used. Central air conditioning is also a big help; it will remove humidity from the air and keep mold growth at bay. Seal your windows with plastic sheeting if they are broken and you want to run the air conditioning or dehumidifiers. Open the windows if the weather is suitable.
Prioritize your salvage—some things are not worth the cost of cleaning. Check with professional carpet cleaners to see if carpeting can be saved. It is likely it will have to be torn up and discarded. Arrange for a specialist to care for oriental rugs. Throw rugs can be cleaned and dried. Again, if the problem is not too severe, a wet/dry vacuum may be helpful.
Watch for ceramic and glass items that may be broken. Place any loose or detached pieces in a plastic bag. Mark it so you remember where it came from! If you don't get to the repair soon, remember to watch for mold growth in the bags.
Wrap valuable paper items and books in plastic and freeze them while you wait for a paper restoration specialist. Damage from mold is prevented by freezing the paper.
To save your furniture:
Treat veneered wood first. It warps quickly and easily. If it threatens to warp, cover the item with wax paper and place weights on top.
Remove drawers from wood furniture. Let them dry thoroughly to reduce sticking.
Place plastic under furniture legs to prevent colors bleeding from floor to furniture or vice versa.
Rinse furniture using a fine spray. Once clean, blot with a cloth or paper towels.
Particles of dirt and broken glass will scratch your collectibles. Rinse well and be sure to use clean cloths to dry.
For painted wood, air-dry the piece before removing dirt. A blow dryer used on the cool setting can help.
Be sure to dry all wood thoroughly to avoid decay and mold.
Avoid sun exposure. Don't dry wood furniture in the sun. The wood will warp.
Upholstered furniture and mattresses do not weather wetness well. Discard any soaked mattresses. If an upholstered item is not an antique or especially valuable, you may want to discard it. If it is an antique, focus on saving the frame. Remove the upholstery and treat the wood.
Use these "recipes" to help you clean:
To remove mold: Wipe wood and other hard surfaces with a rag soaked in a mixture of Borax and hot water. Wash fabrics that can take this treatment in the same sort of mixture.