Floodwater doesn’t just cause physical damage – it also carries harmful bacteria and encourages the growth of mould, neither of which is good for your health. Wear protective gear (a facemask, gloves, and overalls as necessary) while you work, and keep children well away until the worst of the problem is dealt with.
There’s no real upside to a flood when it affects your home. There are a number of ways that water can damage your belongings, and in some cases, people will continue to find small problems months after their initial after-flood clean up has been completed.
If you’ve had a flood in your house, you need to make an assessment of the damage and start to clean your house as quickly as possible. If you delay, you risk falling prey to numerous unpleasant issues – like mould, rot, infectious diseases, and damage to your wiring. Don’t worry, though – we are here to help!
We’ll be focusing on basement flood clean up, as this is the part of your house most likely to be affected.
After-Flood Clean Up: What You Need to Do First
Make sure it’s safe to return to your home. In the case of a minor flood, you should be fine, but if the water levels were high enough to touch your power outlets, you might be at risk of electrocution. Always check that water levels have subsided before venturing into a flooded area. If you were evacuated, consult the emergency services before returning.
How to Clean a Basement After a Flood
Depending on whether or not you still have floodwater in the building, you might need the following things for the basement flooding clean up process:
- Heavy-duty disinfectant and bleach, and a good all-purpose household cleaning fluid. Domestos Bleach Spray is a good choice. (Remember to wear eye protection and rubber gloves when using these, work with doors and windows open, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding method and safety).
- A couple of large buckets and a ready supply of hot water.
- A stiff brush.
- A shovel and a large container for dirt and debris.
- A water pump. You can usually get these from your local DIY or hardware store.
- Make sure the electricity supply in the affected areas has been turned off at the mains.
- Set up your water pump according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and drain the basement of any remaining floodwater. Remember to put the power generator in a well-ventilated area to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Shovel loose mud or dirt and debris into your container.
- Allow your basement to dry out. This is an important part of basement flooding clean up, and unfortunately it can take anything up to a few days to a few months, depending on the type of materials used in the building and decorating of the building.
Once you’ve let the place dry out, go in with your brush, warm water, and Domestos product.
- Scrub down every area that’s got visible signs of water damage (check out our article on removing water stains for more information on this). Pay particular attention to the water line on the walls.
- Don’t forget to go after concealed areas – particularly underneath or behind furniture and the under floorboards. Unless you’ve managed to clean and dry every surface affected by the flood, mould and mildew will still be able to proliferate.
- Once you’ve scrubbed every affected surface thoroughly, apply bleach or disinfectant (whichever is more appropriate for the surface). This will ensure that any spores or bugs left behind by the floodwater are dealt with.
You’ll also need to make sure that any furniture, clothes, or bedding caught in the flood are washed immediately on the highest temperature they can take (check the label to find out). You might find that your carpets or wallpaper are ruined beyond repair, and if that’s the case, you’ll need to strip them out as soon as possible to prevent the damage from affecting the rest of the house.
The thing about flood damage is that it affects everything – so it’s possible that you might discover more problems later on down the line. You will find our articles on removing mould or mildew useful if this is the case. Remember, however, that no cleaning problem is insurmountable: you will have your home back to normal in time.
Use biocides safely. Always read the label and product information before use.