According to The American Institute of Architects (AIA), you should clean your flooded or water damaged home as soon as possible to prevent serious problems such as mold and bacteria growth. With that in mind, we have asked our friends at Absolute Carpet Care to provide us with some tips on how to properly clean a home after water damage has occurred:
Turn Off Power
If you can access your home’s mains power supply switch, turn it off to prevent problems such as short-circuiting and electric shocks. After doing that, you can proceed to check your home’s electrical wiring system for problems such as exposed wires in contact with still water or damp surfaces. If you notice such problems, hire a qualified electrician to carry out the necessary repairs unless you have the necessary expertise.
Clearing Your Home
First, remove all waterlogged household items including floor coverings, wall coverings and furniture. This is to prevent surfaces in your home from getting too damp and developing mold or mildew. The Federal Emergency Management Agency says mold starts growing on damp surfaced within 24 to 48 hours. It is worth noting that mold can grow on diverse surfaces and household items such as carpets drywall, fabric, plants, food, wallpaper, floor tiles, ceiling tiles and even insulation material. For this reason, you should remove every movable object in your home. Be careful when walking on water-soiled floors because it can be slippery. After this, clean all surfaces with warm soapy water. Additionally, sanitize all surfaces (after cleaning) using a mild bleach solution. You can easily prepare a bleach solution by adding one tablespoon of bleach to four liters of water and mixing the solution thoroughly. Alternatively, you can hire a professional who specializes in home and upholstery cleaning.
Carpets and Upholstered Items
If your carpets and rugs have been wet and contaminated for about 48 hours or less, FEMA recommends cleaning and disinfecting them with phenolic or pine-oil cleaner. Additionally, you should dry them completely before returning them indoors. Even then, you should continue to monitor the fabric surfaces for signs of fungal growth and bad odors. Better yet, hire a professional carpet cleaner to clean your carpets thoroughly in order to prevent the future growth of mold or mildew on your carpets. Proper carpet cleaning will protect you from the health risks associated with molds including skin rashes and hives, headaches, throat irritation, eye irritation, sinus congestion and sneezing. Mold is nothing you want to mess with and it can be quite costly to remove a large infestation.
If you duct system has sustained water damage, you should clean it as well. In fact, you should flush and disinfect the system. This is particularly important because dirty water or moisture in your ductwork may lead to mold growth.
According to the AIA, many residential properties in the US have interior walls made of gypsum board or drywall and wood studs. The problem with these types of walls is they tend to sustain serious damage when in contact with water for extended periods. More specifically, the AIA says that such walls usually require replacement when exposed to water for longer than two hours. For small water damaged areas, gypsum board or drywall is fairly inexpensive and easy to install.
Flooding can damage your home as well as your belongings including furniture, rugs, and clothing. With that being said, the Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends for you to begin cleaning up immediately after the damage has been done. The repairs should include removing all waterlogged items, rug cleaning outdoors, washing and disinfecting all dirty surfaces, as well as monitoring the cleaned and dried household items such as carpets for signs of mold growth. There are many times when you can salvage the carpets without having to fully replace them. For more information on how to deal with a flood damaged home check out this publication from the American Red Cross and FEMA called Repairing Your Flooded Home.
Article written by Kiryako Sharikas. Kiryako is an SEO, Analytics, and Content Creation enthusiast who enjoys learning about any industry that comes his way. He studied Marketing at VCU in Richmond VA and is currently work at NetSearch Direct. He loves sharing what he’s learned and believes that anyone can learn how to do any task as long as you dedicate the necessary time. Happy Learning! Follow Kiryako in LinkedIn.