Restoring Your Home – Cleaning
Cleaning up your home after a flood is a big job, but if you follow the guidelines below you will be able to finish the job safely and efficiently.
- Make sure that the gas, electricity and any fuel taps are turned off.
- Temporary electricity can be hired, but adequate ventilation is vital, as generators can produce carbon monoxide. Let the engine cool before re-fueling.
- Make sure any appliances that use gas are disconnected.
- Make temporary repairs to the roof if it has been damaged. Tarpaulin makes a good temporary covering.
Before You Start
Before you begin to clean up your property make sure you have the equipment you will need. This includes:
- A camera to record the flood damage.
- A basic tool kit with a hammer, nails, screwdriver and spanners.
- Brooms, mops, scrubbing brushes and buckets.
- Domestic detergent and disinfectant.
- Rubber boots, gloves and protective clothing.
- Heaters, fans and a dehumidifier if available.
- Heavy-duty refuse bags.
- Shovel out as much mud as possible and use a hose to clean out the rest.
- If there is mud on the inside and outside of your walls, remove in stages so that the loading remains even.
- A high-pressure hose should not be used to remove mud from your property.
Remove Standing Water
- The fire service may supply a pump out service, for which there could be a fee, or you could hire a pump from a DIY store. Alternatively, you can hire a specialist water damage company to pump the water out for you.
- Drain water away in stages to avoid problems with the water pressure on the structure of your property.
- Do not heat your home to more than 4°C until all standing water is removed.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
- Scrub surfaces with hot soapy water and a heavy-duty detergent.
- Items such as soft furnishings, clothes and foodstuffs that have come into contact with floodwater should be placed in rubbish sacks (tied securely) and disposed of.
- You will probably need to hire a skip to deal with all the refuse from your house. If you are making an insurance claim, do not throw anything out until you are told to do so by the insurance company. Alternatively, photograph items before disposal.
- All food preparation surfaces need to be cleaned thoroughly and disinfected.
- Allow all cleaned surfaces to dry completely as there are germs that can thrive in wet conditions.