A flood is a disaster none of us wants to experience, but many of us will. Cleaning up and restoring your property after a flood can be a monumental task. Don’t feel like you have to do it alone however. We’ve got some great tips to help you reclaim and restore your home or business from the water.
One of the first things you need to do is contact your insurance company to find out what is and isn’t covered. Flood insurance is often a separate type of insurance not included with standard renter or home owner’s insurance. The best case scenario is for you to be fully insured, and to have trained professionals perform the flood cleanup.
Here are the steps involved in cleaning up after a flood.
Before you can do anything else, the property needs to be fully drained of any collected water. If the property has been flooded for a period of time this water may have become stagnant, smelly, and infectious. Sewage is often present in flood scenarios. There will probably be mud under that water too. Remove it as well. A power washer can be used to remove mud from exterior walls or furniture.
Remove Damaged Materials and Furniture
Next you’ll need to remove all wet and water damaged fabrics, furniture, carpeting, and mattresses. They will all need to be disposed of. Also remove all waterlogged sheetrock, insulation, etc. Leaving wet materials in your home will prolong the drying out process and greatly increase your home’s risk of becoming infested with dangerous molds.
Decontaminate and Disinfect Your Property
After all wet furniture, carpeting, and building materials have been removed and all mud has been shoveled out it’s time to begin disinfecting the property. You’ll need to disinfect everything, not only the areas that were flooded. All present mold spores and infectious micro-organisms need to be destroyed. Skipping this process will leave your home vulnerable to mold and bacteria during the drying out process. You can use a disinfectant and water to scrub all surfaces.
Don’t forget to disinfect all washable undamaged furniture, and your home’s sundry items as well. Eating utensils, dishes, children’s toys, etc. must all be cleaned and disinfected. You can use a mixture of 1/2 cup of bleach per gallon of water for non-food surfaces, and 2 tsp. of bleach per gallon for food surfaces.
Allow Your Property to Dry
Now you have to leave all doors and windows open and allow your property to dry thoroughly. Professional water damage cleanup firms use powerful blowers and dehumidifiers to circulate air and draw away moisture. This process can take several days. If you’ve done everything yourself so far, it’s a good idea to hire a flood restoration expert to give your property a final inspection before you begin rebuilding and reinhabiting your home or operating your business. Your health and well being is too important to cut corners.