Cleaning Services

Cleaning Up After Flooding

If you are cleaning up after flooding, starting with the right steps is important. The first step is to drain all standing water.

The next step is to throw away anything that absorbs flood water or sewage. That includes furniture, rugs, bedding, and clothing. You should also toss any food that came in contact with flood water, including glass jars of canned foods. Click to learn more.

disaster cleaning

The cleanup of a flooded area begins with removing as much water as possible. Depending on how extensive the flooding is, this could require pumps, submersible pumps, wet/dry shop vacuums, a carbon monoxide sensor, and dehumidifiers, fans, or heaters. It’s important that any equipment used is plugged in and operated from an electrical source that’s away from standing water, as electrocution is a major risk.

After removing the water, it’s time to dry out the area. If weather permits, this can be done by opening doors and windows and using fans, dehumidifiers, and heaters. It’s important to do this as soon as possible, as mold and mildew grow quickly in damp areas.

Items that can be restored or sanitized should be cleaned with hot, soapy water and disinfectants. That includes all surfaces and furniture, including upholstery and rugs. Washing hard-to-reach surfaces, such as cupboard shelves and door and window frames, is also a good idea. Those things that can’t be cleaned or sanitized should be thrown out, as they likely contain contaminated sewer water. It’s a good idea to take photographs of all the damaged property for insurance purposes.

If a septic system has been affected by the flood, it should be professionally inspected and cleaned before turning back on. Contact a professional engineer or registered onsite wastewater practitioner for advice.

When cleaning a flooded area, wearing protective clothing and eyewear is important. That includes a mask to protect against the cleaners’ germs, bacteria, and toxic chemicals. If you will be working in the water, investing in a pair of rubber boots and waterproof gloves is also a good idea. You’ll also want to wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and shoes that protect your feet from stinging spikes or other sharp objects stuck in the mud. Finally, it’s a good idea to wear a respirator filter mask while scrubbing drywall or other surfaces that might have been exposed to sewage and other contaminants. That will help prevent a potentially deadly lung infection.

When the flood waters recede, they often bring mud, toxic chemicals, cleaning products, and bacteria. These substances can contaminate a home’s floors, furniture, and other materials. They can also cause health problems, especially for children and those with respiratory conditions like asthma. The best approach to flood cleanup is to avoid contact with these substances by wearing protective equipment and keeping people with vulnerable health conditions out of the house until it’s safe to return.

If you can get inside, check the structure for major damage. Look for sagging floors and ceilings, discolored walls, and other signs of water damage. Please don’t walk on sagging floors or in standing water, and don’t turn on electrical appliances until an electrician has checked them. Check the main power switches in case the water has flooded them.

Use a shop vacuum or pump to remove standing water, and consider hiring a professional service for more difficult tasks. After the water is gone, it’s time to sort through the debris. Determine what’s salvageable and what needs to be thrown away. If you can, dispose of items immediately after a flood to minimize mold growth.

Before cleaning, wear rubber boots and gloves to protect your feet and hands from contaminated surfaces. Use a face mask that is N95 rated or higher to avoid breathing in mold and other hazardous dust clouds, especially if you have a respiratory condition. You may also want to wear long pants and sleeves for added protection against bacteria, chemicals, and other hazards.

Once the debris is removed, it’s important to dry out your home as quickly as possible. Open doors and windows to ventilate, and set up fans to help air move throughout the house. Moisture absorbers like DampRid can also be placed in rooms and smaller areas to pull excess moisture and odors out of the air.

The type of water involved will also determine whether it’s safe to do the cleanup yourself or require a professional service. Clearwater is usually the most easily cleaned and doesn’t need extensive decontamination. Cloudy or gray water, however, can contain harmful contaminants from leaky faucets, toilet tanks, and overflowing washing machines. It can be contaminated with viruses, bacteria, and heavy metals and requires decontamination by a professional.

Once the mud has been pumped out, the next step in flood cleanup is cleaning and disinfecting. That is the time to start scrubbing and washing surfaces that came in contact with the water, including floors, walls, ceilings, appliances, and furniture. Make sure to use a disinfectant that kills germs. Also, scrub all the hard surfaces in your house and throw away anything contaminated by flood waters, such as carpeting and fabric-covered items.

During this phase, you’ll also want to take pictures of all the damaged areas and contents for insurance claims. When you’re ready to clean, wear rubber gloves, a hard hat, and eye protection. It’s also a good idea to have a dust mask on hand in case any particles of mold or mildew get into your airways while working.

If the flooding is severe, it may be best to have a professional cleaner handle the cleaning, disinfection, and drying. You can purchase a disinfectant solution to clean and sanitize your home’s surfaces, or you can use a homemade solution that consists of bleach and water (1/8 teaspoon of household bleach per 5 gallons of water). Be sure to clean and sanitize toys, particularly any used by children or infants. These toys can harbor dangerous bacteria that cause infections.

Be sure to discard any foods in contact with the flood water, such as canned goods. Also, be aware that sewage and other wastewater systems may have been damaged during the flood. Make sure to service these systems as soon as possible to prevent bacterial contamination that could lead to serious health issues.

Wood floors that have been soaked should be cleaned, disinfected, and dried. To do so, vacuum the area using a high-powered wood floor vacuum and a dehumidifier. Hire a hardwood repair service to help dry and restore your floors if necessary. You can help the restoration process by using a moisture absorber like DampRid. that will remove moisture from the air, discourage mold growth, and help keep the wood surface in good shape.

Once the flood waters have receded and the mud has been swept away, you should be able to begin throwing out any items that are too damaged to be salvaged. Anything in contact with flood water should be thrown out because it can contain raw sewage and other contaminants that can cause various diseases. That includes everything from contaminated furniture, carpeting, and clothing to food, garbage, and pet feces. It is also a good idea to throw out any cardboard boxes or containers that may have been in contact with the water.

During the cleanup, it is important to use gloves and rubber boots when handling waste. In addition, you should wear a respirator mask to protect yourself from the odor and bacteria that may be present. Washing your hands regularly with soap and clean, boiled water is also a good idea. Finally, you should ensure all electrical equipment is turned off and completely dry before using it again. You should also check your shed, garage, and other buildings exposed to flood water for possible dangers.

Debris from floods can contain a wide range of waste, from household-type cleaners to harmful chemicals and industrial wastes. When disposing of debris, you should separate these types of waste from other trash and ensure that the hazardous materials are transported to a licensed facility to accept them. If you need help with where to dispose of your flood debris, contact your local waste management authority for assistance.

Many towns are obtaining dumpsters for residents to dispose of large amounts of debris, often available at no cost. However, for bulky items such as air conditioners, refrigerators, and freezers, you should find a scrap metal yard or transfer station that will accept them.

It would be best if you also looked for a recycling center to take these types of waste, as they can be processed and reused. If you cannot find a proper place to dispose of your waste, you should hire a junk removal company to pick up and haul away any trash that can no longer be used for any purpose.