Home content restoration after water damage, fire damage, mold, or other damage is a critical part of getting your home and life back to normal after a disaster. Personal property specialists, restoration specialists, and content restoration specialists are trained to handle all steps of content restoration from assessment, inventory, packing, cleaning and deodorizing, storing, and returning your items to their original places. Review our guide to content restoration so you’ll know who to call when you have water, fire, or other damage, and what to expect from them.
What is a content restoration expert?
There are many content restoration specialists, also known as personal property specialists.
Their job is to pack, clean, store, and return your items to your home after it has been cleaned and sanitized. Ensure your home content specialist is licensed, insured, and bonded to ensure they can take responsibility for any possible damage or loss to your items while in their possession.
Be certain your content restoration specialist uses environmentally friendly cleaning products and processed. They will restore everything from clothes, linens, furniture, fine china and cutlery, and more.
Depending on the extent of your fire or water damage, they may clean your items on-site or do a full pack out of your possessions, taking them to their facility for cleaning.
What is the content restoration process?
When damage is extensive, and items must be removed from your home to a cleaning facility, this is called a “pack-out.” Your personal property specialist will document and damage all items for you and your insurance company. They will then professionally pack and transport all of your home items to their cleaning facility, store it until your home is ready, and transport it back to your home, unpack and place it in its original location.
Here are the steps your personal property specialist will take to clean and restore your prized personal possessions:
Your restoration professionals will inspect all of your personal items and determine which items can or can’t be restored. Usually, most items can be returned to their original condition. They will inventory and document every item, making a note of any pre-existing damage to your articles. This documentation will be critical to you in your insurance claim process.
Any items that are not being removed for cleaning will be protected from any structural work taking place in your home. Some items may be cleaned right in your home.
The restoration team will professionally pack all items, including small kittens like kitchen utilities, pots, and pans, etc. They will inspect larger items like furniture, sometimes using high-intensity light to detect pre-existing damage. The move will follow standard moving best practices included using packing pads, covered trucks, proper packing materials.
If your contents need cleaning after fire, smoke, water, or mold damage, the restoration team will carefully clean and deodorize all of your cleanable items. They will use state-of-the-art equipment and specialized chemicals, with some things be hand-cleaned. After the cleaning process, your items are placed in an ozone room or deodorization chamber if required.
Some of the items that may be require cleaning, depending upon the type of damage you have are:
- Clothing, linens, and curtains
- Furniture and artwork
- Area rugs
- Antiques and other heirlooms
Your team has the training to determine which items can be cleaned and how to best clean and deodorize special items.
After the cleaning process is complete, your items may need to be stored until your home is cleaned and ready for move-in. Be sure to ask about the storage facility, but it should be temperature-controlled, secure, and monitored 24/7. Your items should be secured in a separate storage unit, and the facility should have surveillance and alarms.
Once your home is ready for you and your contents to return, the restoration specialist will return your items to your home. They will maintain contact with you throughout the cleaning process and work with you to schedule your items’ return. They will have documented your item locations and will replace things to their original places. They will unpack all boxes, and everything will be ready for your return. It’s a good idea to be there for this process in case any item is not in the perfect location!
Cleaning fire-damaged home contents and personal items
The content restoration process for your home will depend upon the actual disaster you have experienced. There are special considerations for cleaning up after a fire or smoke damage. Fires can sometimes be a total loss, but it is often more contained and your items can be salvaged. There still may be smoke damage to the house and contents, and this is a situation where you must work with a professional.
Safety always comes first! A restoration specialist will make sure your home is safe to enter after the fire is out. They will also take precautions against floating smoke and soot particles, which are carcinogens and can be very dangerous. It is very important to wear a respirator, gloves, and other protective clothing to protect against the contaminants. They should also open doors and windows to allow ventilation and let the pollutants out.
When performing inventory, they will identify the items that have not been damaged by fire or heat but have sustained smoke damage. They will know how to clean and deodorize these items. They will remove soot and clean each item with the best method for it. Odors can linger forever, and after the cleaning, if the smell is still present, they will use do ozone or hydroxyl deodorizing if that step is appropriate.
Cleaning water-damaged home contents and personal items
Water damage to your home form a flood or leak can damage your important personal things and home contents. With quick action and the right restoration specialist, you may reduce that damage and salvage man of your damaged items. They are specially trained to secure items to prevent additional damage, identify the things that can be salvaged, and using special drying equipment and cleaning products and technology to get you the best results.
Dangerous mold can form within 24-48 hours of a water event, so it is critical to quickly prevent additional damage to your furniture, clothes, important papers, and other valuable personal items. Depending upon your home contents and the extent of damage, they may use dry cleaning, wet cleaning, foam cleaning, immersion, and abrasive cleaning.
Will my homeowner’s insurance cover the cleaning and restoration of my home contents?
Most standard homeowners policies do cover the cost to repair or replace the contents of your home in the event of a fire, smoke, or severe weather damage. Contents would be furniture, clothing, and other possessions. Each policy has its own limits and exclusions, so it is essential to discuss your particular policy in detail before an emergency.
Be sure you have the documentation required, such as proof of ownership, appraisals, and even a video of your home. Your belongings may be covered at 50-70% of your home, and sometimes antiques, jewelry, and other specialty items require their own rider. Call your insurance agent as soon as you have any disaster. Or better yet, set up a review of your policy today!