Coming home to a flooded basement or a soggy living room can leave your head spinning, wondering where even to start. Whether flood water enters your house due to sewer problems, a frozen pipe that burst, or a natural disaster, it requires your immediate attention. After calling your insurance agent, take photos of the damage, and then begin with these seven effective ways to clean up flood water.
1. Stop flood at the source
All of your clean up efforts will be in vain if the source of the water is not stopped. With that in mind, the first step in any cleanup project is to assess the situation. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the source of the flooding?
- Can I safely and adequately stop the flow of water? (e.g. shutting off the water main)
- Are any live electric wires compromised? Do not enter the water if you suspect this is the case.
2. Remove water
Once you have stopped the source, removing the water is the next step. Based on your assessment of step one, you’ll need to decide which tool fits your needs. A wet vac may be able to handle small flooding in a confined area, but a larger room with deeper water levels will require the use of a flood restoration water extractor. If you remove the water and find mud, use a shovel to remove as much mud as you can.
3. Toss ruined items
It is important to immediately dispose of items that cannot be salvaged to prevent the growth of mildew and mold. This may include drywall, carpet (if submerged for over 24 hours), and wood veneer furniture. Be sure to photograph any losses to include with your insurance claim, if applicable.
4. Clean floors
How you clean your floors depends on what type of flooring was damaged:
- Vinyl or tile with wood subflooring: Remove vinyl or tile floors to let the subfloor dry thoroughly. If the flood water contained sewage material, use a bleach solution and open windows to increase air flow.
- Hardwood floors: Gradually dry floors to prevent additional damage from cracking. If the wood swells, remove a plank every few feet to prevent buckling. Do not attempt to repair the floor until it is cleaned and dried thoroughly.
- Carpeting and rugs: Discard any carpet or rugs that were submerged for over 24 hours or soiled by sewage. Excluding wool or nylon rugs, use a bleach solution to wash rugs (2 TBL to 1 gallon of water). Because water and dirt can be difficult to remove from the fibers of the carpet, professional carpet cleaning may be the best and most efficient solution for affected carpeting.
5. Remove soggy drywall
Floors take a beating during a flood, but walls almost always need replacing. Be sure to cut and remove any drywall that was damaged.
6. Clean furniture
Wash wood furniture with wood-safe cleaning solutions. Because upholstered furniture can “look clean” but still harbor moisture, you should consider professional treatment of any upholstery.
7. Monitor air flow
Keep a watchful eye on your flooded areas and continually monitor the area to make sure your home is drying thoroughly.
At any time during your cleaning process, do not hesitate to contact professionals, like Embassy Cleaners, to assist you with your project.