Take a look in your closet today and you will notice it is different from what it looked like 20 years ago. Changing styles, advancements in textile manufacturing, and the economy have all played a role in these changes. One of the ways homeowners have responded to the economy is by seeking out easy-care garments that don’t need to be dry cleaned. Garment manufacturers are responding to these market shifts by making more items that can be cleaned at home.

Yesterday when a policyholder experienced a fire or flood, a restoration dry cleaner would need to be called to supplement the work of the restoration company. A dry cleaner who is equipped with a variety of elaborate pressing and finishing equipment was required to process all of the dry-clean-only items in the home. Today in the average household, less than 5 percent of contents needs to be handled by a dry cleaner.  

The advances in washing technology has made it possible for restoration companies, properly equipped with in-house soft contents restoration equipment, to restore over 90% of the soft contents and textiles in a claim. The benefits of this full service to insurers and homeowners are substantial.  

The advanced washing technology that has been developed specifically for the restoration of fire- and flood-damaged contents provides recovery levels significantly higher than what has been possible in the past. One example of this technology is the Esporta Wash System. This soft contents restoration system recovers 85% of the goods that are considered non-restorable if using restoration dry cleaning methods. Third-party testing shows that items processed through this wash system are food-grade clean.

The benefits of this shift in how soft contents are handled include the following:

Fast and simple completion

The restoration company is typically the first to arrive on-site, and the soft contents restoration process can begin immediately, with emergency items being restored and returned to the homeowner in less than 24 hours.  This significantly reduces the emergency needs payouts by insurers. The remaining soft contents are restored and returned (or made available) to the homeowner in an average of just 6 days.   

Happy policyholders

The increased rate of restoration returns more of what was affected in the loss to the customer—including items with sentimental value.

Reduced claim settlement costs

Soft contents restoration costs approximately 20 percent of the replacement value and is billed for using industry standard Xactimate® pricing. A risk-free guarantee ensures that insurers are only charged when goods are restored to pre-loss condition and accepted by the policyholder.

With all of these benefits combined, it makes sense that restoration companies delivered the highest satisfaction on contents servicing in J.D. Power & Associates’ National Claim Study.

The change in wardrobe and shift in the way that soft contents are processed is a triple win.


  1. Policyholders are happier with the results

  2. Insurers have reduced claim severity

  3. More soft goods are kept from being unnecessarily sent to the landfill—reducing the effect of the loss on the environment 


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