How To Save Your Valuables In A Flood

Just wanted to write a quick post and tell you a story of when my most precious household items got water logged after a small accident in my house.  flooded house pictureOk, it wasn’t as bad as this picture but still pretty bad!

My hot water heater busted and sent a flood of water into my house while I was away on vacation! Lucky for me, my fabulous local plumber was able to get to my house as soon as I called him and get the repairs done on my hot water heater very fast. It’s always a good idea to have emergency technicians, like plumbers, electricians or air conditioner guys you trust already in your contact list.

Anyway, I found these 10 tips on salvaging water damaged family heirlooms very helpful from the Heritage Preservation society. You can read the entire article here: http://www.heritagepreservation.org/PROGRAMS/tftips.htm

1. If the object is still wet, rinse with clear water or a fine hose spray. Clean off dry silt and debris from your belongings with soft brushes or dab with damp cloths. Try not to grind debris into objects; overly energetic cleaning will cause scratching. Dry with a clean, soft cloth. Use plastic or rubber gloves for your own protection.

2. Air dry objects indoors if possible. Sunlight and heat may dry certain materials too quickly, causing splits, warping, and buckling. If possible, remove contents from wet objects and furniture prior to drying. Storing damp items in sealed plastic bags will cause mold to develop. If objects are to be transported in plastic bags, keep bags open and air circulating.

3. The best way to inhibit the growth of mold and mildew is to reduce humidity. Increase air flow with fans, open windows, air conditioners, and dehumidifiers. Moderate light exposure (open shades, leave basement lights on) can also reduce mold and mildew.
4. Remove heavy deposits of mold growth from walls, baseboards, floors, and other household surfaces with commercially available disinfectants. Avoid the use of disinfectants on historic wallpapers. Follow manufacturers’ instructions, but avoid splattering or contact with objects and wallpapers as disinfectants may damage objects.

Note: Exposure to molds can have serious health consequences such as respiratory problems, skin and eye irritation, and infections. The use of protective gear, including a respirator with a particulate filter, disposable plastic gloves, goggles or protective eyewear, and coveralls or a lab coat, is therefore essential.

5. If objects are broken or begin to fall apart, place all broken pieces, bits of veneer, and detached parts in clearly labeled, open containers. Do not attempt to repair objects until completely dry or, in the case of important materials, until you have consulted with a professional conservator.

6. Documents, books, photographs, and works of art on paper may be extremely fragile when wet; use caution when handling. Free the edges of prints and paper objects in mats and frames, if possible. These should be allowed to air dry. Rinse mud off wet photographs with clear water, but do not touch surfaces. Sodden books and papers should also be air dried or kept in a refrigerator or freezer until they can be treated by a professional conservator.
7. Textiles, leather, and other “organic” materials will also be severely affected by exposure to water and should be allowed to air dry. Shaped objects, such as garments or baskets, should be supported by gently padding with toweling or uninked, uncoated paper. Renew padding when it becomes saturated with water. Dry clean or launder textiles and carpets as you normally would.

8. Remove wet paintings from the frame, but not the stretcher. Air dry, face up, away from direct sunlight.
9. Furniture finishes and painting surfaces may develop a white haze or bloom from contact with water and humidity. These problems do not require immediate attention; consult a professional conservator for treatment.

10. Rinse metal objects exposed to flood waters, mud, or silt with clear water and dry immediately with a clean, soft cloth. Allow heavy mud deposits on large metal objects, such as sculpture, to dry. Caked mud can be removed later. Consult a professional conservator for further treatment.

So what do you think? Have you ever had any terrible experience in your house? Share your stories in the comments!

Early Textile Industry

Early Days of the Textile Industry

This is a great piece highlighting how far we’ve come and where the textile industry was at not too many decades ago. The concerns of the consumer were vastly different than what they are today. Household disposable income was also vastly different. Today, we can take much more liberty in choosing style over function. Enjoy the article.

You can read the original here: http://hearth.library.cornell.edu/h/hearth/textiles.html

Past clothing options
Early home economists were concerned with helping women to provide clothing for themselves and their families in efficient and economical ways. By the early twentieth century, ambitious programs in clothing and textiles were being established in many schools of home economics. Courses were offered both for consumers and for students seeking careers in the textile and clothing industries. The subjects covered included fabric composition, clothing selection for the consumer, home sewing and mending, clothing design and production, and business aspects of the textile and clothing industries. Eventually, extension services also reached out to consumers, educating them on various aspects of clothing and fabric purchasing and home sewing, and junior and senior high schools began teaching these skills to their students.

Home economists inside and outside of the academy made important contributions on various research and policy issues. By the 1920s, the need for standardization in labeling had become apparent, in order to give consumers information about the content and care requirements of textile products. Home economists worked with consumer and industry groups and with government agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission and the Bureau of Human Nutrition and Home Economics to develop such standards. The need for clear labeling became even more apparent as greater numbers of synthetic fibers began to come on the market in the 1940s.

Home economists also undertook extensive studies of use and care of fabrics and apparel, investigating questions of durability and colorfastness and determining optimal methods and products for washing, stain removal, and drying. Another concern was safety; as early as the 1910s, home economists were advocating for and testing treatments to make fabrics flame retardant. In the early 1940s, home economists working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture completed a major anthropometric study that helped established standard sizes in clothing for women.

Academic researchers were interested in more than just the practicalities of keeping people clothed. From the 1920s onward, there was a growing interest in the social and psychological aspects of costume. Home economists conducted historical research and empirical investigations, applying theoretical frameworks from sociology and psychology to clothing. They investigated questions such as: Why do people dress as they do? What messages does clothing convey and what needs do particular styles of dress fulfill for individuals? How does costume relate to social stratification and ethnic identity? To gender roles? To the life cycle? Thus home economists have had a major influence not only on how we dress and what we wear, but on how we understand clothing as an important social practice.

Household tips and tricks for better living