If your home has flooded, you are most likely overwhelmed by all of the damage and destruction. 

Many items will be destroyed, however you might be able to save your clothing and linens.

Here are the steps for washing your clothing and linens after a flood.

 How to wash clothing & linens after a floodphoto courtesy of Stevepb pixabay.com/en/washing-machine-laundry-tumble-drier-2668472/

Clean Washer
If your washer was flooded, you need to disinfect it.

Make sure that it is in good working condition before proceeding.  You might want to hire a technician to inspect the washing machine. 

Run the largest load possible with very hot water (no clothing or linens yet), adding a cup of bleach to disinfect the inside.

Tip - You might want to run water in a nearby sink until it turns very hot prior to starting the washer so the water entering your washer starts hot.

Run a second load with just hot water to ensure all of the bleach is removed.

 

Use a Garden Hose
Using a garden hose outside your home, wash off as much of the mud and debris as possible. 

You do not want that debris to get into your washing machine.

 

Sort
Sort your clothing and linens as you normally would, by whites, delicates, colors, darks, and dry clean only.

Take your dry clean only clothes to the dry cleaner as soon as possible.  Make sure to tell the dry cleaner that the clothes have been in a flood so they can clean them appropriately.  Don't expect all of your dry clean only clothes to come completely clean.  They may need to be dry cleaned several times.

 

Pre-Treat
Try to pre-treat as many stains as possible on your washable clothing and linens.

Popular stain treaters include OxyClean and ShoutOriginal blue Dawn dish soap works well for grease stains.  Hydrogen peroxide works well for blood stains.  Spot test these stain treaters in an inconspicuous spot before applying to your entire garment or linen.

 

Wash
Wash your items as soon as possible.  Bring your clothes to a laundromat if your washing machine is out of order.

Start washing your clothes and linens using the hottest water suggested for each item and a very high quality laundry soap, such as Tide Ultra.  Now is not the time to skimp on cheaper and less effective laundry soap.

If your white clothes or linens allow you to use bleach, then do so.

If your clothing or linens are extremely dirty, you might want to wash them at least twice.

Make sure to not dry your clothing or linens until you have inspected every item for stains, since the dryer will set the stains.

While your clothing and linens are waiting to be washed, put them in a place where they can air out.  Do not keep them in a bag or enclosed space where they will stay wet and possibly grow mold or mildew.

 

Laundry Sanitizer
To be extra safe, use a laundry sanitizer, such as Lysol Laundry Sanitizer,  to kill the bacteria that are growing on your clothes.

lysol laundry sanitizer

Dry
After your clothing or linens have been totally cleaned, dry them in a dryer on the hottest setting allowed for that item or hang them outside in the sun.