Nearly 14.6 million U.S. are at risk for flooding. Do you know how to clean your basement after it floods? You may dread cleaning up a basement, but you need to act quickly to prevent mold and other health issues—and you want to minimize your water damage.
Before you start cleaning, make sure you know the source of the water and solve it, so you won’t have to continue cleaning. Also, you need to make sure it is safe to enter your basement. Check for any hazards like gas leaks, electric shock, structural damage, and raw sewage.
Once you know it’s safe, you can begin the clean-up process. Keep reading to learn how to clean a concrete basement floor after a flood.
Gather the Necessary Tools to Clean a Concrete Basement Floor
It’s a big job to clean a concrete basement, so you want to make sure you have the needed equipment. You may be able to rent the tools you do not have at a reasonable price, or you can decide if you want to hire a service to clean for you.
If there was a major weather event, the local companies may be overwhelmed and may take days or weeks to get to your basement. For these instances, you should get started on your own immediately.
Here are some tools you will need:
- Wet/Dry Vacuum or Sump Pump
- Industrial Blower
- Garden Hose
- Protective Clothing
- Pen or Chalk
If you have private flood insurance, ask your agent about coverage. If you don’t have it, you may want to consider it especially if you live in areas prone to floods.
Remove the Water From Your Basement
The first step is to remove the water. If you are trying to tackle on your own, try using a wet/dry vacuum in small areas to suck up the water. You will probably need to empty the tank throughout this process.
Mark the walls so you can monitor any incoming water. You do not want to finish pumping water out of the basement if the flooding is not done. You do not want to drain water on this inside of your basement if the water on the outside of the walls has not gone down to prevent the walls from getting pushed in.
For larger amounts of water in your basement, you may need to rent or buy a sump pump. If your electrical outlet and panel are in a flooded area of your home, you will not be able to use a gasoline engine sump pump instead of an electric version.
Be careful that you don’t pump the water out too quickly. If you had heavy snow or rain, there’s a lot of water pressure in the soil outside your basement. The water in your basement may actually be balancing this pressure, and if you remove it too quickly, your walls could crumble or crack.
When you attach the garden hose to your sump pump, make sure you position it away from your home. Look for areas where the water can run into the sewer or a storm drain.
Clean and Sanitize Your Basement
After you remove the water from your basement, the read work starts. You need to clean the area as soon as possible to prevent mold or mildew from growing.
If your flood was from a sewer backup, you’ll need to remove all items that can’t be salvaged and sanitize the area. Sewage contains a large number of bacteria, so you don’t want to put your family at risk. Don’t take any chances when cleaning—you may need a service for this instance.
Start shoveling out any mud from your basement when the water is gone. Remove the stains on concrete with a high-pressure hose. If there are still stains on the walls or concrete floors, you can use a brush with stiff bristles and scrub them with household detergent.
As you start scrubbing, work from the top and work your way down. You will then need to start drying the area. Open all the doors and windows and use a fan and dehumidifier to help speed up drying.
When you are cleaning, make sure you wear protective clothing such as rubber boots, gloves, and overalls. You should also consider protective eyeglasses and a face mask if there is any sewage involved.
When cleaning with bleach, be sure you don’t mix the bleach with ammonia. Make sure you rinse thoroughly after using bleach and wear a mask. Run a fan for some additional airflow.
Be careful around electrical socks and equipment. It’s best to avoid any electrical equipment until everything is dry.
Remove Damaged Items
When your basement floods, not all of your possessions can be salvaged. You may have to throw out some items. Here are some items you should throw out:
- Flooring or carpet that is soaked
- Insulation materials
- Furniture that has been soaked like box springs, mattresses, and particleboard furniture
- Pillows, cushions, and furniture coverings
- Stuffed toys and paper goods
- Any food that came in contact with the flood including canned goods
These are all items that cannot be properly sanitized. It is best to be safe and not try to clean them.
Getting Rid of Odors
When cleaning a flooded basement, you may have issues with odors. If your ventilation does not remove odors, mop your walls and concrete floors with a bleach solution. You can use 3/4 cups of bleach to a gallon of water.
Rinse and dry the area after about five minutes and then open the windows. You can use a lump of dry charcoal in a metal container or tin to help absorb odors.
How to Clean a Concrete Basement Floor After a Flood
Time is important if you have a flood in your basement. Follow these steps on how to clean a concrete basement floor after a flood. Make sure you get the water out slowly and ensure that the flooding has stopped.
Sanitize with bleach and other household cleaners. Always wear protective equipment. Remove all the damaged items.
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