There is more to cleaning after a flood than just letting things dry in the sun. Your health, your belongings, and the safety of the structure of your home depend on knowing how to clean after a flood properly. Before you start cleaning take a picture of all the damage and make a list for claiming the damage to your insurance company.
Paper Towel or cloth or towel
Liquid Dish Soap
Powdered Laundry Detergent
White distilled vinegar
First Aid Kit – Bandages, hydrogen peroxide, antibacterial ointment
Disinfecting cleaner, to disinfect appliances, combine half cup bleach and 1 gallon of clean water in a bucket.
Refrigerator and freezer
Unplug the units then empty the contents. Use a towel to dry them inside and out, then clean them with disinfectant. Do not rinse let doors open and allow to air dry.
Washing Machine and dryer
Make sure the drain and vents are open then dry the machine inside and out with paper towel. Use the disinfectant to clean inside and out. Do not rinse, then run the washing machine on the hottest, highest setting adding only 1 cup of bleach and a half cup of powder laundry detergent to clean the inside of the hoses. Let both machines dry let the doors open to dry quickly.
Eliminate and hand-wash all dishes left in the machine during the flood. After washing with liquid dish soap, rinse the dishes in a sink of hot, clean water with one tablespoon of bleach. Allow drying. Meanwhile, using the disinfectant clean the inside of the dishwasher including the racks and filter. Turn on the machine with nothing in it with detergent to ensure that the hose is also clean.
It is not safe to use mattresses that have been exposed to flooding. They cannot dry it quickly to prevent the growth of mold, nor there is no way to completely kill the harmful pathogens soaked into them by flood waters. Remove all mattresses to the curb for pick up and to get them out of the way for another cleaning.
Sofas, Recliners, and other Upholstered furniture
Usually, this kind of furniture cannot be safe after flood and unsafe to keep in your home.
Put a piece of aluminum on the bottoms of wood furniture to keep from absorbing more water. Discharge drawers to dry and set aside the contents for separate cleaning. Wipe with towels and discard them. Wipe them with disinfecting cleaner then wait for five minutes then dry with paper towel.
Ceiling, Walls, Floors
Using a paper towel damped with clean water to wipe away mud and other grime. Clean the ceiling of each room’s first next to the walls from bottom to top. Using a mop with disinfecting cleaner. Change the bucket of cleaner as soon as it starts to look muddy. Allow the disinfecting cleaning remain on the ceiling and wall for at least five minutes. Leave windows to circulate air.
Usually, carpet considers unsalvageable after the flood, check first to your insurance company before pulling out. Small rugs must be put outside to dry. Scrub the rug with a mixture of one cup white vinegar, one tablespoon liquid dish soap, and one gallon of hot water then hose them on both sides then dry.
Linoleum and tile
Unbroken linoleum and tile floors can be safe. Use towel damped with clean water to wipe away any grime or mud. Clean the floor with the disinfecting cleaner and mop, wait for five minutes, then dry with the clean paper towel.
Vinyl plank and laminate floors
These surface is not waterproof and cannot be replaced. Still, clean them by wiping away any grime with damp paper towels the mopping with the disinfectant cleaner.
Hardwood floors may survive in a flood if properly treated. Wipe away any grime with the damp paper towel and mop using disinfectant cleaner. Wait for five minutes then wipe it again with paper towel.
Kitchen and Bathroom
Clean all the surface including windows, first wiping away grime with damp paper towels. Make sure that all the surface are cleaned. Then, repeat cleaning using with disinfectant cleaner, allowing hard surfaces to air dry. To restores the shine of the glass surface, combine one gallon of warm water, ¼ cup white vinegar, three drops of liquid dish detergent in a bucket. Use a paper towel to apply this to the glass then use the squeegee to dry.
In summary, cleaning up the homes after the flood is not a small task. Be sure to contact your insurance company for securing your property again.