Tips for cleaning your home after water damage
When cleaning your home after any unwanted water is present can be a daunting job not to mention it can ruin contents and the structure of your property. If you’re able to act quickly, you can minimize the damage and possibly save some of your possessions as well. Future success depends on how long the water’s been there because the perfect breeding ground for Mold. Mold growth not only ruins walls, furniture, carpets, flooring, etc., it can lead to poor indoor air quality causing respiratory problems lead to severe illness in small children and older adults. Preventing mold growth is key to keeping your home’s air clean and healthy.
- Disconnect the power immediately. The faster you get items out of the water the more likely you’ll be able to save them. Move all electrical items first after you turn off your power leading into the affected area, especially if water rises above electrical outlets. Pull up any wet carpets and padding. You may be able to save the carpet if you get it cleaned and disinfected quickly, however, it may shrink and stink and you’ll be better off just throwing these items to the curb.
- Get rid of the water as quickly as possible. There are many ways to get rid of the water in your property such as rolling up your sleeves and doing it the old-fashioned way of using towels, buckets and mops to soak up as much water as possible. A wet/dry vacuum can be used too but be very careful to plug it into outlets far away from water. Don’t use an extension cord as the connection could also short out and give you a nasty shock. Water and electricity don’t mix! If your basement or other flooded area is overwhelming and you have power, consider renting (if available) a sump pump from your local Rent-all or hardware stores. Getting rid of all the water and drying out the area is the most important thing you can do to prevent mold growth.
- Dry out the affected area. Once you’ve mopped up all the water, use fans and dehumidifiers to help dry out the area quickly. You want to dry the affected area out as soon as possible. If you have a finished basement and the drywall was affected, you’ll probably have to cut away the areas that were touched by water as the drywall will crumble and the paper backing is a good source of food for Mold Growth. If you have baseboard trim, take it up first, and if it’s made from pressboard it will likely not be salvageable. If it was wood, you might be able to save it.
- Disinfect. After the area has been dried out, including wood studs, insulation, drywall, etc., use a good disinfectant or antimicrobial to get rid of any bacteria that might have come up through sewers, toilets, drains etc. Disinfect all areas affected by the flood waters.