Saving water damaged furniture is not an all together impossible task. In fact, depending on the water type and on the nature of the materials used in the make of your furniture, saving your pieces is a process that can be completed with some elbow grease and easy techniques.
Once you have established that your piece of furniture is worth the time investment that will be required to save it, you need to determine the extent of its damage. Pieces that were completely submerged in water are going to be heavily soaked. In cases such as this, it is important to realize that salvaging may be extremely difficult, if not impossible. Of course, if the piece is an heirloom or of great sentimental value, it is important not to give up on it until all restoration avenues have been exhausted.
To begin the salvage process, remove the piece of furniture from its wet environment. Place the piece outside and begin to disassemble it by removing as many parts as you can. Doors, drawers and slides should all be removed, as well as any other removable parts that are on the piece. Be careful in this part of the process not to force anything that is stuck. If you are too harsh with it, you run the risk of permanently damaging it. Use extreme care. Any drawers that become stuck can be removed by working from the back of the piece. Use a screwdriver and take the back off the piece and gently push the drawer out.
Any piece of furniture that has cloth or stuffing is subject to mildew. You need to address this promptly. Using a ripping tool or tack puller, remove the fabric on the furniture. You will have to take out all of the stuffing. Properly dispose of the contaminated stuffing.
Use clean water to begin removing the muddy residue from the furniture parts and pieces. Once cleaned and disinfected with furniture safe products, return the pieces to a covered area so that the sun does not begin the drying process, as this will enhance the chance of warping. Towel dry off all of the pieces and make sure the furniture is in a well ventilated area. Open windows or use a fan to speed up the drying process.
Once the pieces are completely air dried, you can begin to reassemble the furniture. If you must glue a piece back into place, be sure all of the old glue residue is scraped off to ensure a proper fit. Using a clamp will also help to keep corners at a right angle.
Once the furniture is reassembled, replace any stuffing that had to be removed. You can also now reupholster your piece with fresh fabric. Refinish any part of it as you would normally.