If your home has recently undergone damage from flooding, any items that have been soaked with water contaminated with sewage should be thrown out. Otherwise, the mold could cause serious health problems. However, if some items have been dampened but you think the water was relatively clean water, there are some items worth holding on to and trying to restore. The following will inform you what to do with photos, musical instruments, and important documents.
If you find that family photos or photo albums have been dampened or soaked by flood water, you may be able to restore most of the photos. If you find that your photos that you have kept in shoe boxes or stacked have become stuck together, you will need to soak them in room temperature distilled water for 20-30 minutes.
Then, carefully peel the photos apart and lay them out separately on towels, face-up. Put weights on the corners to help them dry without curling. Professional family portraits or wedding pictures will need to be restored by professionals. Look for a conservator in your area and let them work their magic to restore them.
For the future, it would be smart to digitalize all your photos to have backups. If you have old photos without negatives or slides, you can get them scanned and save them digitally. It is a good idea to have the photos that really mean something to you digitally saved. There are professional archiving companies who will do it for you if you do not want to do it yourself.
If you have a piano or any musical instruments like guitars, violins, or woodwinds instruments that appear damaged by the flood, it may be worth it to try to salvage them, especially if you have grown fond of them or paid a lot for them.
If you have electric guitars or any electric instruments, do not plug them in until they are completely dry. If any of your instruments were stored in cases during the time of flooding, you will probably have to get rid of the cases, but they may have saved your instruments.
If you cannot tell how badly damaged the instruments are, have a professional check them out for you. Many professionals may be able to restore them, but you can most likely do it yourself if the damage is minimal. Dry the instruments with an industrial strength fan. If the instruments are electric, you can then spray them with a cleaner specially made for electronics.
If you find any important documents such as birth and marriage certificates, diplomas, or passports have been soaked or affected by moisture, freeze them. After a professional water damage cleaner determines the water that soaked the papers wasn't contaminated, dry them and keep them together in a waterproof file or lockbox.
If they are damaged beyond repair, speak with your lawyer to find out what documents you need, or if you just need the information that was on the documents. You can get government and legal documents sent to you by contacting the branch or department that handles them. For the future, take close-up photos of important documents and scan them to save digitally.
For any items you wish to save, do it as soon as possible after the flood. Items beyond repair may be able to be replaced. Speak with your homeowners insurance agent to see what is covered. Click here for more information on water damage clean up.