If you live in a flood-prone area, you probably know that a flood can occur at any time. Unfortunately, flood waters are extremely damaging to both your home and your belongings. After a flood, you must dry and disinfect everything you plan to keep. But what can you keep—and more importantly, how do you salvage your items? Here are three tips:

1. Food and Medications

The most important, and expensive, items in your home are probably food or medicine-related. Unfortunately, any food or medical item that touches water should be tossed. This is because flood waters are dirty and may be filled with dangerous bacteria. So while it may be painful, you shouldn't keep any food or medications. Since these items just can't be disinfected enough, they should be tossed.

2. Linens

Linens are another item that may be affected by flood waters. Luckily, these items can usually be salvaged. While linens do absorb the flood waters, they are washable. So if you want to save your linens, just make sure you wash them thoroughly. Ideally, you should wash them multiple times to ensure they really get clean. Additionally, dry them out in the sun to help disinfect them. If you can't dry your linens in the sun, use a spray-in disinfectant. Once washed, disinfected, and dried, your linens and clothes should be good as new.

3. Paper

If you are like most people, you probably have piles of paperwork in your home. While you can save paperwork, a flood is a great opportunity to clear out and discard any paperwork you don't need. For paper that you do need, you can salvage it. All you need to do is dry out it. However, you must do so carefully, as water-soaked paper can easily rip or disintegrate. You'll also need to work quickly, as water can cause the ink on paper to smudge and become unreadable. So before you begin, make sure you have a dry place to lay out all the paper you need. Carefully lift the paper out of the water with a thin spatula or similar tool, lay it on a flat surface, and let it dry. As long as the air is circulating, the paper should dry out and maintain its integrity.

As you can see, flood waters can cause serious damages to your home and belongings. Luckily, with these tips and a water damage restoration company, you should be able to salvage most items in your home.