There are clearly no upsides to domestic flooding. Having one’s home fall victim to flood can be a major problem with long term repercussions, especially when damage control measures haven’t been taken timely. The longer the repairs and restoration are delayed the larger number of potential problems to deal with in the long run including mould, rotting, spread of bacteria and many wiring/electrical problems. The basement is perhaps the area which is most likely to suffer from a flood as flood water will drain down to the lowest possible place in the structure. If you have the option to call in professional help, many cleaning companies offer specialised services focusing on post flooding issues. If you rather tackle the issue on your own, here is some useful advice to help you deal with the situation.
- Always stay safe – if returning home to deal with damage and clean up after a relatively minor flood, then you should be fine. However if dealing with the aftermath of a major flood, where water levels have been significant, then chances are the electrical system of the house is no longer safe as water has reached outlets. That would mean you need to get help from professional electricians who will make the house electrically safe again, and then move on to after-flood cleaning.
- The cleaning materials and equipment needed for after flood cleaning, depend on whether or not the basement is still flooded or the water has resided. Regardless make sure you have sufficient amount of heavy duty disinfectants, bleach and a good all-purpose detergent. Two large buckets, ample supply of clean hot water, a hard bristle brush, also shovel and bucket/container for sludge and debris.
- In case your basement is still flooded, nothing can be done before all the flood water is pumped out of there. Many hardware stores will rent out DYI water pumps, your other option would be to engage the services of professional drainage/plumbing specialists. If and when using the water pump be absolutely sure that power in affected areas, including the basement is cut and the area is safe to work in.
- Once the water is out of there (be ready to shovel out some water manually as many pumps leave a small amount of water at the bottom of the affected area) you may begin to remove all the debris and sludge usually found at the bottom of a recently flooded area. The more debris and dirt you remove by hand the less cleaning you have to do later on.
- Next step is to let the basement dry out, this may take a number of days so be patient. Once basement is dry begin cleaning all affected areas (look for water marks) using hot water and hard bristled brush. Be meticulous as doing a good job will save you tons of hassles later on, this also means out of sight areas.
- Next, clean all affected areas with bleach (or similar product) to stop mould and bacteria from spreading. Clothing, upholsteries, curtains and other fabrics affected by the flood will need to be washed on high temperature.