You can never be too safe when it comes to natural disasters. Even if you are not one of the victims of floods, it is good to know how to clean after surviving a flood.
Pro tip: Take pictures of the state everything is in before you clean so that you can later put it up for an insurance claim. In addition to that, as soon as you reach home, open all windows and turn on all fans to allow air circulation. This will also help your items dry faster.
What you will need:
- Paper towels (If you use cleaning rags, make sure to dispose them after in order to prevent decontamination of other things.)
- Liquid Dish Soap
- Dishwasher Detergent
- Powered Laundry Detergent
- White Distilled Vinegar
- Aluminum foil
- Antibacterial soap
- First aid supplies
- Clean clothing
· Clean your appliances:
*Disclaimer: Make sure your electricity is back on and your home is inspected by an electrician before continuing.
Disinfecting cleaning solution: Mix a half a cup of bleach into a gallon of water in a bucket.
Freezers and refrigerators: After unplugging them and emptying all the items, soak your paper towels with the disinfecting cleaner before wiping down the whole unit both inside and out. You do not want to rinse them with water, instead, let it air dry.
Washer and dryer: Wipe dry the machines with your paper towels after ensuring the vents and drains are open. Same as before, wipe down with the disinfectant. With a cup of bleach along with a half a cup of powdered laundry detergent, run your machine at high before letting it to air dry.
Dishwashers: Remove any dishes left behind and hand wash them with liquid soap before rinsing it in a bowl of water mixed with 1 tbsp. of bleach. Wipe down the dishwasher with the disinfectant and run it empty with some liquid detergent. Let both the dishes and the dishwasher air dry.
· Clean your furniture:
Mattresses: Mattresses are more or less a gone case if exposed to flood. They do not dry quickly enough, hence risk the chance of growing mold. It is better to just add them to your insurance claim before throwing it to the curb.
Upholstered Furniture: Same as the case with mattresses, these are unsafe to keep at home.
Wooden Furniture: remove drawers and doors, and any other removable part to allow air circulation. To prevent from absorbing any more water, move them to a dry spot and place them on top of aluminum sheets. Spread the individual parts to let them air dry separately. Soak your paper towels with the disinfecting cleaner before wiping down the wood, let it sit for about 5 minutes and then wipe them dry.
(Do this at your own risk as when exposed to water and air may cause the wood to discolor or warp.)
· Clean the walls, floors, and ceilings:
Ceilings and walls: Wipe away the grime and mud with clean water first before going in with the disinfecting solution and a mop. After letting it sit for 5 minutes, wipe clean. Work your way from the top to the bottom.
Carpeting: Move all area rugs outside to air dry. Mix in a cup of white vinegar along with a tablespoon of liquid dish soap, in a gallon of hot water. Scrub the rugs using this mixture and a mop. Hose it down afterwards and let them dry. If you have mats and throw rugs that are smaller, you can wash them in your washer and dryer without a problem.
Wooden floors: Using damp paper towels, remove any grime before moping with the disinfecting solution. After letting it sit for 5 minutes, wipe the floors dry with paper towels. You might want to wait for professionals to inspect any further damage done beneath the surface.
Linoleum and Tiled floors: Again, remove any grime using damp paper towels before moping with the disinfecting solution. After letting it sit for 5 minutes, wipe the floors dry with paper towels. Make sure that the tiles are not cracked or broken. If they are, inform your insurance agent about it.
Laminate and vinyl plank floors: Clean them for now with dampened paper towels to remove the grime and then mop the floors with the disinfectant. Do keep in mind that these will eventually have to be replaced as they are not waterproof.
· Clean your bathrooms and kitchens:
Clean all the surfaces in your kitchen and bathrooms by first removing any mud and grime. Make sure to not miss and nooks and cronies, including vents and counter edges. Repeat the same with the disinfecting solution.