sure utilities are disconnected before entering the building
for the first time.
main switch and all circuits. If the main switch is located
in the basement, ask a professional utility representative
or electrician to assist after all flood water is pumped out
BEFORE attempting any work in the house.
a professional electrician to remove covers and clean all
outlets and fuse or multi-breaker boxes. He or she will normally
dry contacts and spray with cleaner/lubricant.
an electrician check for ground faults and other unsafe conditions
and equipment before reconnecting systems. Equipment and wiring
that appears to be safe soon after flooding may fail prematurely
and cause a fire or shock hazard. Replacement is often the
best option. Circuit breakers that have been submerged should
exposed skin parts (hands, feet, etc.) frequently. Wear protective
clothing, hard sole shoes, rubber gloves, goggles, and a quality
mask with an HEPA filter (N-95 or better) for extra protection
against contamination and particles. Special filter masks
are needed to protect against vapors.
children out of the area and away from cleaning products and
contamination and the debris.
general recommendation is to toss fibrous or porous materials
as they are hard to completely clean. Hard surfaces can usually
for carpets and rugs depend, to some extent, on the TYPE of
water damage. AClean@ water (regular plumbing leaks, rain
through an open window, etc.) may be easier to deal with.
AGray@ and Ablack@ (sewage, flood water, run off from animal
or pet areas, pesticide, oil etc.) water damaged carpets need
special attention and procedures and generally should be thrown
away along with the pads. Carpet that has been under flood
water should be discarded or steam-cleaned. If they must be
cleaned, contact a professional carpet cleaner skilled in
flood-damaged carpets. Carpet with a foam backing should be
you must save the Aclean@ water damaged carpets, pull up the
water-logged carpets and dry outside on a clean, flat surface,
such as a concrete driveway covered with old sheets. If the
carpet is placed face down, stains will wick to the back instead
of to the face yarns. Pads should be tossed.
the carpet off and, if badly soiled, add detergent. Work detergent
into carpet with broom and rinse well. Remove as much water
as possible quickly using fans or water- extraction equipment.
Take care to avoid electrical shock.
discourage mold, bacteria, etc. and odors, you might decide
to rinse with a solution of chlorine bleach - 2 Tablespoons
to 2 cup per gallon of water - follow label directions. HOWEVER,
bleach may damage some carpets and carpet color. If the carpet
is wool, do NOT add bleach.
protective gloves, goggles and work in well ventilated area.
NEVER mix bleach with ammonia or ammonia containing cleaners.
carpet and floor THOROUGHLY before the carpet is replaced.
If carpet is put down damp or the wooden floor contains moisture,
it may mildew and mold.
to discard all padding.
carpet and backing may shrink and need re-stretching and professional
of submerged plywood subfloors may separate.
that separate must be replaced to keep floor covering from
warping and possible buckling.
floor coverings are removed, allow subflooring to dry thoroughly
(it may take several months). Check for moisture and warping
before installing new flooring. A moisture meter can help
determine the moisture content of wood.
remove a board every few feet to reduce buckling caused by
swelling. Consult a carpenter about removal techniques for
and dry floor thoroughly (may take several weeks or months)
before replacing boards and attempting repairs.
meters with prongs are available through some hardware and
plumbing businesses, or through a major plumbing or heating
and cooling wholesaler. Check the yellow pages. Moisture meters
help measure the moisture levels in materials such as wood
and other porous materials.
and Sheet-vinyl Floors:
the submerged subfloor is wood, the floor covering probably
should be removed so subflooring can be replaced. If the floor
has not been soaked, loose tiles may be recemented after floor
is thoroughly dry.
the subflooring is concrete, removing the floor covering will
hasten drying of slab. Removal may not be necessary if it
would ruin an otherwise unharmed material.
water has seeped under loose sections of sheet flooring, remove
the entire sheet.
a reputable dealer to find out what mechanical tools or solvent
and technique will loosen the adhesive with the least damage
to the floor. Ease of removal depends on the type of material
and adhesive. Hire a professional to do the job as it can
be dangerous. IF you must do the job, Use CAUTION when working
with solvents - follow the label directions. Wear protective
clothing and the appropriate mask that will handle the particular
solvents involved. Regular particle filters are not effective
against vapors. Good ventilation and safety strategies are
furniture may be able to be cleaned. Most porous upholstered
furniture and mattresses should be discarded. If the item
is a valuable piece or family heirloom, consider having it
professionally cleaned and then restored by a qualified furniture
refinisher or upholsterer.
may be solid wood, wood laminate, veneered, bamboo, steel,
plastic resin, etc. and each reacts differently to water and
cleaners. Always test cleaning procedures first on valuable
pieces. For example, veneers, plywood and laminates may loosen,
warp and buckle.
you can't hire a professional and decide to do it yourself,
take furniture outdoors to clean. Wear protective clothing
and a quality mask (N95 or better). Hose or brush off mud.
All parts (drawers, doors, etc.) should be removed. Remove
or cut a hole in the back to push out stuck drawers and doors
a cleaner safe for the material. Detergent and water can be
used on many materials. Dry slowly out of direct sunlight
(hot sunlight will warp furniture). It may take several weeks
to several months to dry.
flood waters recede, use detergent and water to clean hard
surfaced walls and woodwork thoroughly. A new 3-gallon garden
sprayer works well (one with no pesticide residual). If you
choose to use a disinfectant, 3/4 to 1 cup of household chlorine
bleach per gallon of water can be used as a disinfectant on
some materials. USE as directed and do not mix with ammonia
or products containing ammonia. Always work in a well-ventilated
with a brush to help remove small quantities of mud and silt
(larger quantities of mud and debris may need shovels and
scraper tools). Rinse with clean water. Dry very thoroughly.
If utilities are on, use heater, multiple fans, dehumidifier,
or air conditioner to speed drying.
appliances and equipment should be tested, cleaned and dried
by professional repair persons before starting the items.
electricity or fuel turned off, unplug and open as much as
possible of the appliance to rinse or wipe clean and let dry.
appliances can be tilted slightly to drain and aid quick drying.
Three days to a week or longer may be necessary for drying.
appliance repair persons should check the items again before
reconnecting. Most electrical appliances can be saved; however,
check with your appliance and equipment professionals and
insurance company first.
water from above-ground structures as rapidly as possible.
For a basement or wall below grade, soil and water pressure
from the outside could cause buckling of the wall if the water
is removed too quickly.
interior surfaces of insulated walls to a point well above
the top water height. Wicking allows moisture to travel further
than the water line.
and discard wet insulation.
the interior wall studs and plates with a detergent and water
solution. You may want to follow that with a disinfectant
to prevent growth of decay-causing organisms and especially
if gray and black water contaminated the surfaces.
ventilation by opening windows and doors when the outside
humidity levels are lower than indoors. Use multiple fans
the walls open for at least four weeks or more ( it may be
up to 3 months)or until they have thoroughly dried. Test the
wood and other materials with a moisture meter if possible.
When walls are closed over interior wall materials that contain
higher moisture levels, mold can result in the interior walls.
replacement materials that will withstand future floods. Replacing
wall materials horizontally, such as drywall, allows easier
removal should flooding occur again. Delay permanent repairs
until buildings are thoroughly dry (may be several weeks to
mildew and mold in the weeks and months that follow flooding
or any moisture problem. Mold can start to grow within 12
to 24 hours when moisture levels are above 50% to 60 % relative
humidity. Don't give it a chance to start growing. Keep the
humidity levels low - between 35% to 50%
and Mildew Prevention
an air conditioner is available, use it to remove moisture.
homes that are not air-conditioned, open as many windows when
the outside humidity levels are lower than the inside levels.
Use fans and dehumidifiers to circulate air. Run bathroom
and kitchen vent fans IF they are vented to the outside -
NOT into the attic.
on electric lights in closets, and leave doors open for ventilation
and to assist drying.
lights stay on as long as dampness or high humidity is present
to help dry and prevent mildew growth.
that some molds can begin to grow in about 48 hours. Preventing
the start of mold growth is essential and monitoring for possible
growth or regrowth over the next months to a year. Dormant
spores can start to grow if they have sufficient moisture,
usually more than 50% to 60% relative humidity levels, and
a source of food such as organic matter and cellulose (dirt,
paper, wood, etc.)
mold under control through prevention - stop moisture leaks
as they happen and clean up water and moisture damaged as
quickly as possible when SAFE to do.
Mold From Household Articles
Know how to deal safely with mold. Obtain educational materials
on mold control and clean up before any cleanup to avoid recurring
mold growth and potential health related problems from mold
recommended procedures for mold prevention and cleanup. All
molds should be treated with respect.
extent, the occupants' sensitivity, type of materials, costs
and ability as well as other factors should be considered.
It is best to have professionals remove mold contaminated
materials and clean up.
you must clean up items with mold yourself, use a quality
HEPA filter mask (N - 95 or better), gloves, goggles, and
protective clothing. (Particle filters however, do not protect
against vapors and endotoxins given off by some molds. )
off and clean mold and mildew growth outdoors if at all possible
to prevent scattering of spores in the house. If items must
be cleaned indoors, seal off the area from the remainder of
the home if possible and close off vents that might circulate
the spores. Create a negative pressure in the room so that
spores do not spread to other rooms. Open a window and use
a fan to exhaust air to the outside through the room window
to be removed and destroyed should be covered or wrapped with
heavy plastic and sealed with duct tape or placed in plastic
bags and removed through the closest window or entrance to
avoid scattering spores. Contact adhesive paper can also be
used over an area to help contain the spores.
a quality vacuum cleaner with an HEPA filter to draw out more
of the mold. Discard vacuum bags immediately and throughly
clean vacuum after completing the task.
the area with detergent and water. Rinse well. Wipe with a
clean, barely damp cloth. Wipe dry if possible.
you decide a disinfectant is needed, spray with fungicide
or other commercial disinfectant made for the purpose and
the material. Remember that fungicides or disinfectants are
classified as pesticides when they are used to kill fungus
and should be used with care.
the article thoroughly and monitor the item for the next few
months for signs of reappearing mold or mildew.
dead spores and dormant spores can be a problems for some
on-line about mold include, among others: