Cleaning Furniture After a Flood: Here’s What To Know

Water damage is unwelcome in any home, especially if it takes advantage of your hospitality and leaves you with water-damaged furniture. If you do find yourself in the unfortunate situation where you have water-damaged furniture, there are a few things you might see when your furniture is exposed to water, such as: 


Waterlogged furniture typically has been soaked with water, causing it to absorb excessive moisture, making it heavier than usual. Furniture that has been waterlogged for an extended period of time may be more difficult to restore than furniture that has only been exposed to water for a short amount of time. 

Discoloration and Stains

Identifying water damage on furniture can be done by looking for discoloration or stains that are not typical for that particular piece of furniture. Here are some things to look for:

  • Water Rings or Spots – These can appear as lighter-colored circles or stains on the surface of wooden furniture. They are caused by water pooling on the surface and can often be removed with a gentle cleaning solution and some light sanding.
  • Dark Blotches or Stains – These can be a sign of prolonged water exposure and may indicate the presence of mold or mildew. Tannins may also cause them in wood to react with the water. If the stains are deep or widespread, they may be difficult to remove.
  • Discoloration or Bleaching – Water damage can cause wood to lighten in color, especially if it is exposed to sunlight. This is because the water can leach out natural pigments in the wood. Upholstered furniture may also fade or change color when exposed to water.
  • Swelling or Warping – If the furniture is made of wood or other porous materials, it may swell or warp when exposed to water. This can cause the furniture to become misshapen or uneven.
  • Rust or Discoloration on Metal Parts – Metal parts of the furniture, such as screws, hinges, or handles, may show rust or discoloration if they have been exposed to water.

Potential Mold Growth

Mold can grow quickly in damp and humid environments. Therefore, if your furniture has water damage, you may need to take steps to prevent mold growth on your furniture. It is also important to note that mold growth can lead to potential health problems such as respiratory problems, allergic reactions, and infections. Therefore, it is crucial to eliminate mold growth as soon as possible. 

Lingering Odors

Even after cleaning, your furniture may still have a musty or mildew odor due to water damage, which could be challenging to eliminate. However, you may prevent odors from lingering if you: 

  • Dry the furniture as quickly as possible. 
  • Remove any visible mold or mildew. 
  • Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda on the furniture and let it sit for several hours.
  • Vacuum the furniture once the baking soda has been fully absorbed. 
  • Use activated charcoal in a bowl around the affected area. 
  • Use an ozone generator: An ozone generator can be used to eliminate stubborn odors. 

Swollen or Warped Wood

Swollen or warped wood may look different depending on the severity of the water damage and the type of wood, but here are some general signs to look for:

  • Bulging or Uneven Surfaces
  • Cracks or Splits
  • Difficulties Opening or Closing Drawers or Doors
  • Changes in Shape
  • Lifting Veneers

Rusty Metal Parts

Metal parts on furniture may have rusted due to exposure to water, such as: 

  • Screws, nails, and other fasteners. 
  • Hinges. 
  • Drawer slides
  • Handles and knobs.
  • Metal frames.
  • Casters or wheels. 

Upholstery Damage 

When upholstery is water damaged, it can cause a variety of issues depending on the severity of the damage and the type of fabric. Some common problems that can occur include staining, shrinkage, weakened fabric fibers, foul odors, mildew or mold growth, and the breakdown of adhesives. 

Delamination of Composite Materials

Delamination of composite materials refers to the separation of layers in a laminated composite structure. Laminated composites are made up of two or more layers of different materials that are bonded together. Delamination occurs when these layers separate due to impact, fatigue, or exposure to moisture. For example, furniture made of composite materials like plywood may delaminate.

Hire a Professional

When furniture is damaged by water, it is important to hire a professional to clean the furniture immediately. Even if the furniture looks okay at first, the water can cause lasting damage that can ultimately cost more than hiring a professional in the first place.

Water damage causes the furniture to deteriorate quickly. A professional will be able to assess the furniture damage and determine the best course of action for restoring it.

A furniture restoration expert has experience with furniture that has been damaged by water. They know how to properly dry out wet furniture, remove mold, odors, and stains from furniture, repair any structural damage caused by water exposure, and refinish furniture surfaces so they look as good as new.

In addition to saving money in the long run by hiring a furniture restoration expert at the outset, some homeowners’ insurance policies may cover part or all of the costs associated with hiring a professional furniture restorer. This can help cushion the blow of an unexpected expense like water-damaged furniture repair.

Most furniture restoration experts will also provide advice on how to avoid future furniture damage caused by water. This can include tips in furniture placement, the use of waterproof furniture protectors, and regular maintenance. 

Hiring a professional furniture restorer to clean up furniture damaged by water is the best way to ensure that it is restored properly and efficiently. In addition, this can give homeowners a sense of security and satisfaction that furniture damaged by water will be taken care of in the most effective way possible.

Western Disaster Cleanup 

Western Disaster Cleanup’s trained professionals have the experience, tools, and know-how to ensure your furniture looks as good as new after being exposed to water. 

So don’t wait — contact us and let our experts handle your water damage restoration today!  

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