The Return to Normal Cleaning Up After a Flood

Although floods can and do happen almost anywhere, certain places are more prone to them than others. Still, it behooves everyone, even people with no flood insurance, to have an evacuation, cleaning, and salvaging plan in place before witnessing a flood.

Before you start cleaning, make sure that the site is safe. Also, wear protective clothing and gear until you finish the job. Follow our tips to efficiently deal with mold, know what is salvageable and what is not, and more.

Preparing for Cleanup

Ask any natural disaster solution provider in Houston, Florida, New Orleans, or the rest of the Gulf Coast about the problems they’ve encountered during cleanup, and the answer would generally be the same.

Before starting to clean, make sure you have the right conditions to proceed. Remember to do these important steps:

  • Ensure the power is off by checking the breaker switches.
  • Be vigilant of live wires that might have fallen from nearby power lines, avoiding them if seen.
  • Have someone help out during the cleanup.
  • Taking care to not step over sharp objects.

Have the Right Personal Protective Equipment

Depending on how long the water stays in your home and how high it reaches, the level of harmful particulates and spores in the air after a flood can be abundant. Failure to protect your eyes, nose, mouth, hands, and feet during flood cleanup could lead to serious injury or illness. PPEs can help block dangerous airborne spores and pathogens.

Be sure to don PPE while you work, even if outside. If you can’t get your hands on a fancy hazmat suit, there are other items capable of giving slightly less or similar protective results:

  • Undergarments: even with a full PPE suit, you’ll want to put on some undergarments. They don’t have to be new clothes, just something you can wear and throw away after the messy job is done.
  • Durable boots or hip waders: frankly, any kind of shoe should work if the area is completely dry, as long as they’re strong enough to shield your foot from floor debris. But if that water is still around, high-ankle fishing boots or hip waders that reach to the knees would be a good idea. Make sure there aren’t any holes in them.
  • Hard hat: floods can damage the structure of a house, weakening its reinforcement. To protect yourself from falling items or a weak ceiling, keep your hard hat on (particularly when entering any flood-damaged home or building).
  • N95 Mask: an N95 mask is the simplest way to protect your nasal and mouth passageways from fungal spores. These spores can develop quickly after receding floodwaters.

What Will and Won’t Need Repairing

The structure of the house, if built well, could remain if the flooding is brief. Wooden floors would probably have to be redone or undergo extensive repair work. Many hardwoods buckle and warp in floodwaters. The drywall or sheetrock may show damages up to where the flood level stops. If possible, try to clean the drywall above the floodwaters quickly after subsidence.

Dealing with Mold

Mold is one of the biggest destroyers after a flood. It can easily destroy items after flooding, even if the water didn’t reach them. However, metal and plastic pieces such as silverware can be easily cleaned. Mold is also easy to wipe away from glass, ceramic, tile, and some dense wood.

Knowing What to Throw Away

When sweeping and shoveling away mud and debris, check for anything that might have fallen to the ground during the flood. Jewelry, photos, and items made of stainless steel are all washable. Moldy clothing and rugs can be challenging to clean. Refrigerators typically need replacing since the water could damage the insulating coils.

Outline a Flood Cleanup Plan

Your flood cleanup plan could increase the number of items you save instead of throwing them all in the trash. It can also make the cleaning safer for you and others who have offered to help. Take your time and make a record of saved and discarded possessions. Planning is key to overcoming material losses associated with flooding.

This content is brought to you by Charles Britton.


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