If you’ve experienced a flood in your home, you know what kind of damage water can do –regardless of the amount. The bottom line is that once water reaches your door, there really is no good way to hold it back. And, the damage is almost always irreversible without a renovation. Read on to get our nine expert tips for cleaning your home’s interior after a flood.
Tip #1: Unplug All Appliances
Safety first when you are entering a home that has been flooded. Make sure you are wearing appropriate protective, waterproof clothing and rubber boots. Turn off the power and then unplug all appliances. Do not attempt to clean up any standing water with the power on. You’ll need to let it recede.
Tip #2: Extract Water from Permeable Surfaces
If you have carpet, you can use a wet/dry vacuum to extract water from the fibers. If there is standing water in your home, consider getting a utility pump — which will literally move the water in your living room back into your yard.
Tip #3: Rent a Dehumidifier
After all the water is gone, you’re likely to still have dampness in your home. Rent a dehumidifier, which will continue to extract moisture from the air. You can keep dehumidifiers running for days for maximum dryness.
Tip #4: Removed Ruined Furniture
Next comes the process of determining what furniture can be saved and what needs to be tossed. All wooden furniture is likely to sustain damage and will need to fully dry out for days. It’s likely that you will not be able to save upholstered furniture, as it will have soaked up contaminated water.
Tip #5: Begin Demolition
If you have ruined drywall and/or faux wood flooring made of vinyl, you’re going to need to pull it all out and up. If you have hardwood floors, you’ll want to consider hiring a company to come in and extract water from the wood. Vinyl planks cannot be saved, as they are not waterproof and drywall will crumble when wet to a certain degree.
Tip #6: Mold Remediation
If the water has been in your home for some time, you’ll begin to see mold creeping up the walls and onto the ceiling. At this point, it’s time to call in a mold remediation company that can help you determine whether anything can be saved. Regardless, a mold remediation company will be able to tell you whether there is the presence of mold in the air and they can extract it.
Tip #7: Wash Walls
Sometimes a flood doesn’t reach your walls, and in that case you can keep them. Still mold can start forming on them. The best way to remove mold is with a wall-safe cleaner that contains a bleach product. Make sure you wear gloves, goggles and a mask and keep your room well-vehnilated when you are washing your walls.
Tip #8: Launder Soaked Clothing
Clothing that has made it through a flood likely has sewage and contaminants in it. You can wash this clothing in your washing machine, but you’ll need to sanitize it with a special cleaner made to remove chemicals and sewage. Toss anything that cannot be thrown into a washing machine — including pillows and stuffed animals.
Tip #9: Give It Time
Give yourself time to process the flood in your home and accept that you cannot clean it in a day. It takes time to go through this clean-up process, and you’ll need to take it day by day. Don’t feel like you have to do everything on your own. Know when to call in the experts for help.
Don’t Give Up
It can be overwhelming to come to terms with a flood in your home — and it can be daunting to clean up. But if you follow our nine expert tips step by step, you will find that the process gets a little easier because there is a process to follow. Don’t skip any of the steps to ensure your home returns to its optimal health and aesthetic.