Restoring water-damaged items is a process that must be done right away to prevent mold growth. The longer you wait to treat the items, the less likely you can restore them. Quick cleanup is also vital to reduce the risk of mold, a health hazard, growing in your home. You should dry the items within 24 to 48 hours if possible.
Removal of Water

Use a mop or towels to absorb as much of the water as you can. Turn on your ceiling and window fans to speed the drying process. If it is during cooler months, turn up the heat in your home to help dry items and dehumidify the areas. Flood damage or water damage caused by an overflowing toilet or a leak somewhere else in your home is often covered under your homeowners insurance. Generally, if you call your insurance company, it will contact a water-restoration company to bring out heavy-duty fans to speed the elimination of moisture in your home. The company will also use or supply you with water extraction vacuums.
Books and Paper Documents

Remove books and any other paper products from the source of water right away. Dry them with towels, and place them in an area where they will receive ventilation from a fan or open window. If the documents are important, photocopy them if they cannot be saved for future use. Stand the book up, and place dry paper towels between the pages in several places. Replace the paper towels frequently with dry ones, and flip the book to the other end. Once the books are dry, they may be warped. Remedy this by stacking many books on top of each other, and placing heavy weights on top of the stacks to help them return to the original shape.
Flooring

If you have carpet damage caused by sewage backup, remove the carpeting and padding and discard it. Wash the floor with a detergent solution, rinse well, and allow it to dry thoroughly. If the water damage is in a small area, discard the carpet padding and use a vacuum extraction method to remove the water from the carpeting. Hire a professional to clean the carpet, or shampoo it yourself. Rent a dehumidifier, and use fans to speed the drying process. For linoleum, vinyl, or other types of flooring with water damage, use a water extraction vacuum to remove any excess dampness after mopping it. Clean the floor with a mild detergent and water. Turn up the heat in your home, or use a dehumidifier and fans to dry the flooring. Make sure that underneath the flooring is not wet; if it is, you will have to contact a professional, or dry underneath it yourself to prevent mold growth.
Upholstered Furnishings

If the water damage is due to a flood, sewage backup, ground water infiltration, or roof leaks, you will need to dispose of the furniture. Otherwise, use a water extraction vacuum to remove the water from your upholstered furniture. Use dehumidifiers, fans, or heaters to dry the upholstery. If it is a warm, sunny day, place the furniture outside to speed the process. If you feel it will not dry completely before 48 hours, consult a water restoration company, and ask for advice.

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Author's Bio: 

Graeme Stephens has been running the largest owned carpet cleaning company in new Zealand for 24 years. IICRC qualified "master restoration technician"