Textile Restoration

It’s estimated that soft contents accounts for up to 23% of the total items on a pack out, making it the single largest contents category by volume. And it’s not just clothes that a textile restoration professional can restore, but window treatments, area rugs, shoes, leathers, furs, suede, belts, hand bags, purses, pocket books, luggage, hockey bags, ice skates, golf bags, etc.

But what makes soft contents restoration so crucial on any water or fire job is the economics of it. Specifically, it’s estimated that the value proposition for the homeowner and the carrier is about 80% savings versus replacement. With a success ratio in the high 90% range, this is significant.


While the cleaning and restoration of textiles and soft goods that goes on inside of the plant is crucial to the process, it’s what happens before the items are even packed out that is arguably just as important. The process starts when the initial call comes, usually either from an adjuster, contractor or homeowner.

A first responder and crew is then assigned to the site, where more information is gathered from the homeowner and the inventory and pack out step begins. Items are photo documented on site, then packed out, returned to the plant and added to the inventory system. Garments are detailed based on their characteristics and examined for any pre-existing conditions.

After that, the cleaning and restoration process begins. Two weeks’ worth of items are immediately processed and returned to the homeowner within 24 hours, while all remaining items are cleaned, restored and returned at a later date, sometimes as fast as two to four days.

Just as there’s a significant difference between working on fire damage jobs versus water damage ones, there’s a big difference in restoring soft contents affected by the aforementioned.

For instance, with water damaged textiles, before they can even be dry cleaned, they need to be dried – and dried fast for best results. Waiting too long to dry can result in mold, color degradation and breakdown of the fabric.

Water-damaged items are dried in specialty drying chambers, where dehumidifiers and air movers effectively wick away moisture without agitation, after which they can be loaded into the machines to continue the restoration process.

Conversely, items recovered from a fire loss can be loaded right into dry cleaning machines – the sooner the better. Why? Because the longer hydrocarbon sits on the garment, the more difficult it is to get out.



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