Cleaning Flood-Soiled Bedding Mattresses
A good innerspring mattress should be sent to a
commercial renovating company. Renovation is too difficult to do at home. Ask about the cost of such work. It could be less expensive to buy a good reconditioned or new mattress.
If mattress must be used temporarily, scrape off
surface dirt and expose it to sunlight to dry as much as possible. Cover mattress with a rubber sheet before using it.
If you decide to keep any flood-soiled mattress, it
should be sterilized. This must be done at a sterilizing plant--a mattress company or a state hospital. Ask your local public health department for information on mattress sterilizing plants in your area.
Have mattresses as dry as possible before taking them to a sterilizing plant. Crop drying fans or household fans may speed up the drying process.
If ticking is in good condition, wash feathers and
1. Brush off surface dirt.
2. To circulate water through pillows, open a few inches of the seam in opposite corners of the pillow, turn edges in, sew loosely with strong thread, or fasten with safety pins.
3. Wash in machine or by hand in warm (not hot) suds 15 to 20 minutes. Use a disinfectant in the wash cycle. If using an automatic washer, do not wash more than two pillows at a time.
4. Rinse at least three times in clear, warm water.
5. Spin off water or gently squeeze out as much water as possible. Do not put pillows through a wringer.
6. Dry in an automatic dryer at moderate heat setting, or dry in a warm room with a fan, or across two or three clotheslines. Put several bath towels in dryer with pillows to speed up drying. Allow at least 2 hours. Shake up feather occasionally to hasten drying.
Washing feather and ticking separately. If ticking is not in good condition, or if pillow is badly soiled, wash feather and ticking separately.
1. Find a muslin bag which is two or three times larger than the ticking.
2. Open one edge of ticking.
3. Sew the open edges of the ticking and the bag together.
4. Shake the feather from ticking to muslin bag.
5. Close seam of bag.
6. Wash bag of feather in lukewarm, sudsy water and disinfectant.
7. Repeat if necessary.
8. Rinse in lukewarm water, changing water several times.
9. Squeeze out as much water as possible by hand. Do not use a wringer.
10. To air-dry, hang on line by two corners. Change
positions end to end and shake feather occasionally to speed up drying.
11. Finish drying pillows by laying them on a flat
surface or pinning them to a clothesline to dry in the
12. Wash the ticking. With a sponge, apply a starch
solution to the inside of the ticking.
13. Transfer clean feather to the clean, sanitized
starched ticking, using the same methods as for emptying.
14. Close seam of ticking.
If pillows have been badly soaked, it may not be possible to remove all objectionable odors.
Polyester fiberfill pillows
1. Brush off surface dirt.
2. Wash by hand in warm water and low-sudsing
detergent. Add a disinfectant to the wash water. Flush water through pillow by compressing it. (Twisting and wringing will tear filling). Change water and repeat if necessary.
3. Rinse three times in clear, warm water.
4. Spin off water in automatic machine. Tumble dry in dryer at moderate setting with several bath towels, or press out as much water as possible by hand, and hang on line outdoors to dry.
Foam rubber or urethane pillows
1. Remove cover. Brush off surface dirt.
2. Follow manufacturer's directions if they are available. Otherwise, soak in cool water; then wash in warm suds by hand. Use a bathtub or large sink. Then wash by pushing down on pillow, releasing, and pushing down again. Rinse the same way. Pillows can be machine-washed on gentle cycle with lukewarm water plus a disinfectant.
3. Rinse well in lukewarm water.
4. Gently squeeze or spin out excess water. Blot with
5. Dry away from heat and sunlight. Do not dry in dryer unless on an air only setting. Pillows may dry very slowly in the air.
Blankets, quilts and comforters
Wash only one blanket, quilt, or comforter at a
1. Shake and brush to remove surface dirt. Follow
manufacturer's laundering directions if available.
Otherwise, proceed as follows.
2. Soak at least 15 minutes in lukewarm water. Turn two or three times during soak period. Several soak periods may be beneficial depending on the amount of soil lodged in fibers. Change water for each soak period.
3. Use a mild detergent, disinfectant and lukewarm water. Immerse blanket and work suds in gently, using as little agitation as possible. If necessary change water and repeat.
4. Rinse in several changes of lukewarm water.
5. Gently squeeze out water. Hang blanket over two lines to dry so it forms an "M" shape or dry it in preheated dryer with several large dry bath towels. Remove blanket from dryer while it is still damp and hang over two lines to finish drying. Gently stretch blanket into shape.
6. Brush blanket on both sides with stiff brush to raise nap, press binding, using synthetic setting on iron.
Wash lightweight quilts following directions for wool
blankets. Dry outdoors in sunlight, if possible, to
remove unpleasant odors.
You may need to take thick comforters apart, and wash cover and filling separately.
Electric blankets are washed as you would normally.
Sheets, towels, linens
1. Brush off as much loose dirt as possible.
2. Rinse mud-stained fabrics in cold water to take out particles of soil lodged in fibers.
3. Wash in warm suds and disinfectant several times if necessary. Do not use hot water since it will set red and yellow clay stains.
4. If stains remain after several washings, try bleaching white cottons and linens with chlorine or sodium perborate bleach. Do not overbleach. Sun drying will aid bleaching. Bleaches may be used on some colored fabrics; follow directions on bleach package.
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