Tips To Clean Up After A Flood
Flooding is a regular problem faced by many people around the world. In Canada, flooding is a common natural hazard, and at an estimated $6 billion, the most expensive as well, in terms of losses .*
As precautions go, there’s only so much you can do as an individual to reduce damages. When the flooding is severe, your property is likely to suffer damages. In these cases, the only way to reduce damage is to clean up properly. Here are a few tips.
Cut off your power supply
The immediate risk you face after flooding is that of receiving an electric shock because water is a good conductor of electricity. Before you enter a flooded area, make sure you turn off the electric mains. If required, get professional help to assess the damage caused to your wiring. Also, ensure your gas lines are not damaged or leaking.
Ventilate the area
Mould and mildew can start forming within 48 hours. So, time is of the essence. Do not let your property and belongings stay wet for too long. Work as fast as you can. Start by ventilating the area. Open all doors and windows to allow air circulation (if weather allows it). If not, you can use fans and dehumidifiers to ensure everything dries quicker.
A flood-damaged area is not a safe place to be. Severe flooding can compromise the structure of a property. If sewage water is mixed with floodwater, it brings the risk of diseases. Before you begin clean-up, wear appropriate boots, gloves, a mask, goggles and a hard hat.
Pump out the water
A pump connected to a generator is usually your best option. You can start from your basement because it’s usually the first place to flood. Pump out the water gradually to avoid causing any damage to the structure. In case of severe flooding, get professional help.
Where possible, try to drain the water out. If your basement already has a drain, it could be clogged. Clearing the blockage or routing the water to a different drain are your options.
Get rid of the dirt
Shovel out all mud and clean your walls and furniture with fresh water before the mud dries. Use a hard brush and detergent to remove stubborn stains.
Your electronic appliances should be safe if they were not turned on during the flooding. Nevertheless, get a professional cleaning service in before using large electronic appliances like washing machines, dishwashers, televisions, etc.
Fabric and washable upholstery
Anything that can be washed is usually safe after a flood. You only need to ensure that you double wash and disinfect your fabric before use. Using a laundry service is probably your best option if your own machines don’t fit the fabric.
Cleaning a carpet is difficult because if not done properly, mould can set in and leaves an odour. You could try cleaning your carpets if you have an extraction/steam cleaner. Otherwise, your best option is to use the services of a professional carpet cleaner.
Wooden, plastic and metal furniture
Clean your furniture to remove the dirt. Then wipe using a disinfectant liquid. After it’s been cleaned, place out in the open to facilitate drying. While placing furniture in direct sunlight will speed up the drying process and kill any mould, avoid prolonged exposure if your furniture is delicate.
Things to discard
Porous items like bedding, carpets, some types of furniture, etc. are best discarded if they are completely drenched. If a particular item is valuable, you’d have to assess the cost of saving it.
Floors, drywalls and insulation
Drywall, insulation, and wooden flooring should be replaced if they are completely wet. Get a professional to access the situation and replace them if DIY is not an option because of extensive damage.
Disinfect your entire property
Simply cleaning and drying your belongings and your house is not enough – especially in cases of severe flooding. Thoroughly disinfect and sterilize everything. Chlorine bleach mixed in water can be used to disinfect your floor, walls, non-porous furniture, etc.