When your house floods, dirty water wreaks havoc on the underlying structure of the house, your personal belongings, and the health of your family. Flood waters contain many contaminants and lots of mud. High dollar items can get ruined all at once, even with just an inch of water.
Cleaning up is a long and hard process. After the danger has passed and you are safely in your home with access to clean water and electricity, you need to use your time and energy wisely. Focus on sanitizing and cleaning the heart of your home, the kitchen.
All porous materials will need to be discarded. You will have to clean and disinfect every hard, sealed surface.
In order to keep your family safe, immediately address potential contamination of your food preparation areas. Make a cleaning solution and use another basin of bleach solution to disinfect your non-porous kitchen items. Immerse glass, porcelain, and china for 10 minutes in the hot water disinfecting solution. Plastic plates, cups and ESPECIALLY plastic baby bottles are porous and must be discarded.
Then air dry dishes; do not use a towel. According to The Flood Safety Education Project, cupboards and counters need to be cleaned and rinsed with a chlorine bleach solution before storing the disinfected dishes.
Any tools and small appliances that can be taken apart should be. Clean and disinfect the water-proof parts of the coffeemaker, the blender, the stand mixer, etc. Of course, don’t submerge the electronics and motors. Get them in the sun and keep the air moving around them.
Appliances like dishwashers and ovens need to be serviced, cleaned and sanitized. All metallic appliances that have been flooded should be properly grounded to prevent electric shock. Mud or dirt in a grounded outlet or adapter may prevent the grounding system from working, and you could be electrocuted.
Throw away all food that has been in contact with flood water. Any cans with pull tabs, screw-on lids for jars, and “crimp” bottle caps are unsafe. When in doubt, throw it out. You could bleach sealed cans but remove paper or plastic labels; use a permanent marker to a label. And let air dry completely, don’t wipe with a towel.
Get rid of meat, milk, cheese, and fish if the refrigerator has been above 40* for more than 2 hours. A freezer that has been unopened and full of frozen food can stay safe for about two days if it is only half full the time drops to one day. Wrap food waste up in aluminum foil or plastic to keep animals out. If your garbage service has been suspended, you will need to bury it at least 4 feet deep, according to FloodSafety.com.
If the food started to rot, you’ll have a horrible smell in your expensive fridge. Use baking soda to remove food odors from appliances. Focus on the amount of surface area– use flat pans of baking soda placed on the center shelves. You’ll need to run the empty refrigerator on a low setting to allow them to work. If the smell remains, repeat the process with activated charcoal.
Ceramic floors usually survive floods. Vinyl flooring may need to be removed; water can seep in between the seams and allow drying of a subfloor. Some restoration companies, such as Cousino Restoration, can accelerate drying time by forcing air under floorboards; contact them for advice on your situation.
A little excess water from a broken kitchen faucet is one thing, but a full-scale flood in the kitchen requires professional help. Cousino Restoration is dedicated to working quickly and efficiently to restore your property. After as much of the water and wet materials have been removed as possible, they will use a combination of dehumidifiers, fans, and moisture monitors to ensure your property is thoroughly dried. If the source of the water was contaminated or if the water damage was not discovered quickly, additional steps will be taken to clean, deodorize, and disinfect the affected areas.
Call 800-874-2122 or visit cousinorestoration.com for emergency response. Our Toledo specialists provide our customers with fast, friendly, and local service.