Flood: Cleaning the Home or Business Property


When the water recedes, a layer of mud is left. Shovel or scrape it off. Hose down the walls and floors to remove the remaining mud. Do not allow mud to dry -- wash it off while it is still wet. To control odors and effectively clean flooded surfaces such as walls, baseboards, floors, etc., wash them with commercial laundry bleach solution (two ounces to two gallons of water).

Document the damage before cleaning up. Take pictures if possible. If you have insurance, contact your agent.

The following information is the best we have available, but there is no guarantee it is correct for your situation. Use your best judgment. Consult experts whenever possible. Professional restoration, cleaning or salvage companies may offer free advice to affected homeowners. Your Cooperative Extension Service has an 800 telephone number.

Appliances: Wash refrigerators, washing machines, dryers, air conditioners and ranges. Dry completely. If possible, have them checked by a serviceman before using.

Bedding and Linens: See special information sheet.

Books and Papers: See special information sheet.

Clothing: Put clothes that were covered with water on a line and hose them down. When mud is removed, launder and/or dry clean. See special information sheet.

Concrete: Wash off and give a bleach bath.

Dishes and Cooking Utensils: See special information sheet.

Draperies: If they are soaked, hose them down immediately. Take to professional cleaners.

Electric Motors: Motors in appliances should be thoroughly cleaned and reconditioned before being used. If possible, have it done by a repairman. Clean, dry and oil at lubrication points of sealed motor units as soon as possible. Rinse unsealed motors with clean water under low pressure, while turning the motor over slowly by hand. Use a hair dryer to dry electric outlets and other electrical devices.

Fixtures: Inspect and empty water. Allow to dry thoroughly before using.

Floors, Rugs and Carpets: It is best to get professional cleaners to work on carpets and floors, but this may not be possible. Hose down to get excess mud and debris off. Then dry. Begin cleanup as soon as possible. While cleaning, wash exposed skin frequently in purified water. Wear rubber gloves for extra protection. See special information sheet.

Food: See special information sheet.

Furniture: Wash upholstered furniture, automobile upholstery and other household articles with soap and water. Expose to sun and air until thoroughly dry. Solid wood furniture usually can be restored.

Grass, Trees, Shrubbery: They often return to normal after submersion for several days. If trees and shrubs are damaged, they should be supported by wood stakes, etc.

Paintings: If painting is particularly valuable, take it to a professional restorer. Wipe other paintings with a mild soap solution and soft cloth.

Plaster Walls and Ceilings: Hose down if covered with a heavy mud residue. Allow to dry. Wash down with 2 tablespoons sodium hypochlorite laundry bleach (such as Purex or Clorox) to a gallon of water or use a household detergent, following the directions on the container. For deposits of water in the ceiling, remove the light fixtures, and drain the water out through the hole.

Refuse: Cover all flood deposited refuse with at least two feet of earth.

Electronic Equipment: If the unit was completely covered by water, hose down to clean and thoroughly wipe off electrical connections that are easily accessible, being careful not to cause breakage. Dry as quickly as possible. Do not attempt to operate the unit until it is completely dry. If it still does not work, consult a repair person.

Tiles: If tiles are waterproof and have been laid with waterproof glue, they should not be injured by submersion. Tiles laid with water-soluble glue will come up soon after the flood waters subside. If laid on masonite or wood floors, the floor under the tiles may buckle, causing the tiles to loosen. Ceramic tiles should be unaffected, but the wall behind the tiles may buckle or warp, causing tiles to come loose.

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