Cleaning Water Damage with Water

You may recall the article in an earlier issue of Contents Solutions, in which a contents specialist was faced with nearly 30 computers that had been saturated with water from fire hoses. When water and soot mix together they form an acid that can actually disintegrate fragile components inside a computer. The adjuster had already decided that they should be “total lossed” but the contents pro suggested, “Give me just 3 of them and I’ll restore them to pre-loss condition. If I succeed, you let me restore the rest. If I can’t get them up and running again, I’ll pay for the attempt with the original 3.”

Both the owner and the adjuster agreed that it was a gamble well worth taking.

The contents manager returned the initial 3 computers 48 hours later and they functioned as well as if they had never been flooded in the first place!

The contents manager had used deionized water to flush out minerals and other contaminants that would have otherwise ruined the wet computers. Regular tap water contains impurities that are actually very good conductors of electricity (that’s why water and electricity don’t mix). The electricity in the computer can actually arc across the minerals and “fry” the computer. But deionized water can pull the errant minerals out of the circuitry.

Deionized water can be an excellent cleaning product for many surfaces besides electronics as well. For example, you may have seen signs at your local car wash that advertise their use of deionized water (often referred to as “spotless” cleaning or “spot free rinse”). The minerals in the water leave residual spots behind. Deionized water has almost no detectable impurities.

When water is “deionized,” minerals, metals and salts are removed, turning it into a contaminant magnet.

Having lost its own ions, it reaches out to grab ions from other surfaces around it. This makes it an extraordinarily powerful cleaning substance. The contents valet use it on windows, counter tops wood furniture, crystal wine glasses and even carpeting. And since there are no minerals in it, there is no residue, spots or other contaminants left behind. It can be a superb primary cleanser or a follow up for removal of other cleaning products.

Like the “spot free” rinse in a car wash, it pulls impurities, soaps and other pollutants from most non-porous surfaces, leaving no traces of the cleaning solutions.

Deionized water can even be used to clean inexpensive and heavily contaminated electronics that might once have been “cashed out” because it would have cost more to restore them than the replacement cost. The process now costs so little that it is more economical to restore instead of replace.

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