Water-damaged room, seen during cleanup, following Hurricane Katrina in 2005
Do you know which items you should save and which you should toss? (Wirestock | DepositPhotos)

Hurricanes bring devastating winds, torrential rainfall and rising floodwater — and you can expect power outages and water damage, not to mention the cleanup afterward if severe weather sweeps through your area.

That was certainly the case for Hurricane Sally, which flooded Gulf Coast homes and sent 105 mph winds that snapped trees in half, crushing roofs and power lines in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

Now, hundreds of thousands of residents on the Gulf Coast are picking up the pieces, and wondering what to do with items that have received water damage.

And this won’t be an isolated incident for many homeowners who live in hurricane-prone areas. That’s why, just after a hurricane, it’s important to look at your belongings and decide what to throw out and what to keep.

A good rule of thumb is, “When in doubt, throw it out” — and that’s definitely the case if an item is soft, porous and has come in contact with water.

So, goodbye bedding, carpets, rugs, curtains and upholstered furniture! The risk for mold and mildew is too great with these items.

But you can save hard surfaces like countertops and tables that have endured some water damage — the cleanup game plan just requires hot water and bleach.

Watch the video above to learn more about what to save and what to toss!

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