How to Clean Up a Basement After a Water Flood

No matter if you’re experiencing a regional flood, or only your basement is under water because a pipe broke, you’ll need to clean it up immediately afterwards. The faster the water flood is cleaned up, the less damage can occur.

Assuming you have already contacted the insurance agency who covers your house, your next step is to “Think Safety.” This is a key to successful clean up your basement after a water flood has happened. Before you step foot inside your basement to clean, make sure the electricity to that area is turned off inside your house! If there’s still flood water standing in your basement, don’t walk in it! Use a broom handle instead, to reach the main switch on your fuse box or breaker box. If that doesn’t work, then call a licensed electrician before you begin your clean up- maybe you can save money by calling a family member, neighbor, or friend who is one- to check your basement. A licensed electrician can tell you if it’s safe to walk in the water. If it’s not, he can also repair the problem while he’s there.

Anytime you smell natural gas in or around your basement, especially after a water flood, contact your gas provider immediately! If you know how to shut the gas off, then do so. Otherwise, open all the windows and doors of your house, evacuate the premises, and refrain from smoking, creating sparks or flames.

Now, once your basement is safe to walk in, it’s time to clean up after the water flood. Protect yourself from dirt, germs and bacteria by wearing water proof boots and gloves, a long-sleeved shirt and pants. If you know there’s mold in your basement, or if you even suspect there is, then you should wear a protective face mask so you don’t breathe the mold spores into your nose and lungs.

Also, remember to wash your hands with antibacterial soap and clean water often as you clean up your basement after a water flood.

Use a pump or a Shop Vac™ to remove the flood water from your basement. Flood water that is several feet deep needs to be removed at a slow rate. Because, if the water is pumped out too fast, the action will create a low pressure on the inside of your basement. Thus, the pressure on the outside will be higher, and your basement walls can easily fall in.

Once the flood water is removed from your basement, open up the windows and doors, and set up several fans to help dry the basement out.

Continue your clean up by removing furniture, carpeting, rugs, et cetera. Then, use a scoop shovel to remove mud or debris that are left on the floor.

Some rugs and room-sized carpets can be saved by drying them out and cleaning them up. However, if the flood water in your basement contained sewage, or if they’re moldy, you’ll need to discard the rugs or carpets instead. After the floor coverings are dried and have been swept, you should use a commercial steam carpet cleaner and detergent to clean up any savable floor coverings. (Home carpet cleaners aren’t usually powerful enough to handle the task.)
Vacuum the basement floor to remove as much water as possible. Then, mop the bare floor with household bleach and hot water. You’ll also need to wash the walls as well, to kill germs and bacteria.

When you clean up your basement after a water flood, there may be some personal items you can save. Clothing can sometimes be laundered or dry cleaned. But, again, only as long as they haven’t contaminated by sewage or mold.

Electronic items that were submerged in the basement flood water, or even just got water on them, should be checked by a professional repairman before they are plugged in again.

Mix up a strong solution of household bleach and hot water in a bucket to clean up any personal items you wish to keep. Wipe them dry, then allow them to set out in the sunshine to help further sanitize and deodorize them.

Paper products such as books, magazines, and photos can’t usually be saved once they are damaged by flood water.
Any irreplaceable photos you’d like to save may possibly be repaired by a professional photo shop.

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