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Can Your Furniture Be Saved After Water Damage?

Natural disasters have become more and more frequent due to global warming. Floods and fires are constantly affecting various parts of the country. And even if you live in an area that is not prone to flooding, you never know when a catastrophe might strike. Moreover, it's not only natural disasters that can affect your home, but also things like burst pipes. In any case, water can do a lot of damage to your home's structure and your furniture. Therefore, it's good to be prepared and know what to do in such cases. So, can your furniture be saved after water damage? In some cases, yes.

Your furniture can be saved after water damage if you act quickly

Whether your furniture can be saved under these circumstances or not, depends on the degree of damage. The longer it stays in the water, the more difficult it will be to salvage it. Therefore, you must identify the problem as soon as possible and remove the furniture from the affected area. Initially, you can just transfer it quickly and safely to storage. Then, once you've dealt with the cause of the flooding, you can move the furniture somewhere you can attend to it.

You should also remove any items that are non-salvageable from your home. Even if you need to keep them for the insurance claim, they shouldn't remain inside your home. This is very important because water-damaged items can develop bacteria, mold, and other contaminants.

Dry your furniture out and clean it

Before you try to restore the furniture, you have to dry it out and clean it. This is essential if you want to prevent further water damage. So, here are the steps you should follow:

  • Wipe it dry using a rag. This way, your furniture won't absorb any more water.
  • Eliminate the dirt using a vacuum cleaner. This will also absorb some of the water.
  • Let it dry properly. To do this, you can use dehumidifiers and high-volume fans. You should also open any cabinet doors and drawers to help your furniture dry faster.
  • Clean it thoroughly. Now that your furniture is dry, you can use soap and warm water to clean it properly, but only on the surface. Don't use too much water to avoid any more water damage.
  • Air it out properly to avoid unwanted smells. Fresh air is the best solution, so you should place the furniture in a well-ventilated area. Another trick is to use some baking soda. But don't forget to vacuum it afterward.
  • Disinfect it properly by using diluted bleach or other disinfectants that don't affect the color.

Be advised that these steps mainly apply to solid furniture. When it comes to upholstered furniture, contaminants can be tough to remove. So, you should first decide if the item is worth saving. Or, if possible, just separate the upholstery from the furniture to replace it later.

A woman wiping a coffee table.
Your furniture can be saved after water damage if you wipe it dry.

Save your furniture by attending to it properly

To salvage your furniture, you have to pay attention to the materials it is made out of. This is very important because you can't treat all materials the same way. So, here are some things you should take into account.

Wood furniture

The main problem, in this case, is that when exposed to water, wood swells and warps. Plus, if you don't treat it properly, it will rot. Now, if the water damage is not extensive, you can use things like petroleum jelly, wood cleaner, or salt. However, if the furniture is heavily damaged, you need a better approach.

Your wooden furniture can be saved after water damage if you first disassemble it. This will help it dry faster, and it will also help you attend to it better. Once you've disassembled the item, take some sandpaper and start sanding it. You should first attend to the damaged area, then move further until the entire surface looks smooth. If you can't make it even on the first try, use some bleach and water, let it dry, and sand it again. Finally, apply a wood finish.

A paintbrush applying wood finish on a piece of wood.
Save your wooden furniture by applying a wood finish after sanding it.

Leather furniture

When it comes to your water-damaged leather furniture, you have to look out for mold and mildew. Therefore, make sure you remove any stains and dry it properly. To do this, you can use a low-heat hairdryer. However, if your furniture has already developed mold and mildew, you should treat it with saddle soap and a wet sponge or nail brush.

A leather couch.
Your leather furniture can be saved if you dry it out properly.

Upholstered furniture

As previously mentioned, the problem with upholstered furniture is that it can be hard to decontaminate it. So, you should use boiling water when you clean it to make sure you kill the bacteria. Afterward, you have to dry it out very well to prevent it from developing mold. And no matter where you leave it to dry, you should also use a dehumidifier to remove all the moisture from the room. In case of extensive damage or contaminated water damage, you should just strip down the upholstery and replace it.

Your furniture can be saved after water damage by professionals

All of these DIY ideas work, but it all depends on the extent of the damage. So, if you're dealing with some minor flooding and you manage to remove the furniture quickly, you might be able to salvage the furniture yourself. However, when it comes to major flooding and contaminated water, you should consider hiring a restoration professional. An expert is more likely to save your valuable furnishings. Plus, a professional can properly assess every item and determine if it's a health hazard or not. No matter how much you love a piece of furniture, if it's too contaminated, you should throw it out.


Even if nobody wants to think about it, things like natural disasters and burst pipes happen. And they often occur more frequently than we would like. Thus, it's not a bad idea to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. So, in case of flooding, can your furniture be saved after water damage? The answer is yes, it can if you act quickly and attend to it properly. And if the damage is too extensive, know your limitations and seek help from a professional.

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