Visiting the lake is a relaxing, recharging, and enjoyable experience… but not when it’s in your basement.
A flooded basement is anything but exciting. It requires extensive repairs and a lot of money to get it back to normal again. But don’t let it overwhelm you.
We’ve put together this guide to walk you through the steps you need to take during a flooded basement cleanup. Let’s get started.
What You Need to Do First
Before you grab your bucket, mop, and other cleaning supplies, there are a few things you MUST do first. Rushing into the cleaning process without taking the proper precautions can turn the project into a safety hazard for you and anyone else involved.
Turn off the Power
You should always turn off the power in your basement before you enter, especially if the water level has reached the outlets. If your circuit breaker is in the basement, don’t risk it. Call a professional to turn off your power for you.
Figure out Where the Water Is Coming From
When it’s safe to do so, go into your basement and try to find the source of the water. Is it coming from a burst pipe? Did a storm carry in all the water with it?
This is an important step.
Floodwater can be dangerous, full of harmful bacteria that can lead to a host of medical problems. Knowing what you’re dealing with will help you put together the best action plan for your cleanup.
Again, if you aren’t sure where the water is coming from, call a professional. They’ll be able to inspect your basement, figure out the problem, and tell you how to fix it.
Sit Tight (If You Need To)
If you think your basement is flooded due to a flood, you may not want to start cleaning right away. As the storm continues, it will undo all your hard work.
The best thing to do is wait until the storm has passed (unless the flooding is getting out of hand). Otherwise, the job will take twice as long and be much more expensive.
Put Your Safety First
Never touch floodwater without proper protection. You should be wearing rubber boots, rubber gloves, and if the water is deep enough, a protective suit.
After you leave the basement, take off the protective gear and wash up well with soap and clean water.
Is a Flooded Basement Something You Can Clean up on Your Own?
The answer to that question depends on the extent of the problem. If there is only a shallow layer of water on the basement floor, you might be able to handle the cleanup on your own, but for anything more serious than that, you likely won’t have the proper tools, supplies, and sanitation equipment.
It’s also easy to miss small areas while you’re cleaning. If this happens, the moisture might turn into mold growth that can spread through the rest of your house.
Hiring a flood restoration professional is often cheaper, faster, and more effective.
Flooded Basement Cleanup Tips
Even if you decide to call a professional, you should follow these tips as you’re waiting for them to arrive/as they’re working. This will help you get your basement back to normal as fast as possible.
1. Remove the Water
You may be able to remove all the water with a mop if there isn’t much of it. You can also try pushing the water into a floor drain if you have one. Otherwise, you’ll need to use pumps or wet-dry vacuums (which a professional can provide).
2. Remove Anything That Got Wet
Take everything that got wet out of the basement and put them in a well-ventilated area to dry. If you have space and security, leave them outside.
Leaving these items in the basement will make everything take longer to dry. It can also trap moisture underneath them, which can lead to mold growth and other damage.
3. Dry It Out
Set up as many floor fans and dehumidifiers as you have in the basement to create an airflow and dry up the moisture. If your basement has any windows, open them to speed up the process. Keep everything running for at least 48 hours to ensure everything is completely dry.
4. Throw out Anything That’s Beyond Saving
You should leave all of your wet items, such as furniture, boxes, and personal belongings, out to dry for about 48 hours. If they are still wet after that, there’s a good chance they’re already full of mold spores.
At this point, it’s better to throw those items away than try to replace them (or simply keep using them). And don’t bother saving any cardboard that got wet. This will hold a lot of mold and bacteria even when dry, so it’s better to toss them.
5. Replace/Restore Problem Areas
If any of the drywall or insulation got wet, you’ll need to rip them out and replace them. These absorb a lot of water, and it’s difficult to dry them out completely. Even if you do, they’ll be warped or not as efficient as they should be.
It’s also a good idea to tear out any carpet you had in your basement. That will trap moisture underneath it, becoming a massive breeding ground for bacteria and mold.
6. Clean Everything
After everything is removed from the basement, you’ll need to spend a lot of time cleaning and sanitizing the entire space. This will remove any traces of mold and ensure it doesn’t come back.
This can be a tricky job, so it’s better to have a professional take care of this step for you.
7. Waterproof Your Basement
Once your basement is clean and put together again, you should invest in waterproofing. Making sure water can’t get into your basement is much cheaper than trying to get it back out again later.
Keeping Your Basement Safe and Dry
No matter where you live, even if you don’t get a lot of storms in your area, flooding is a danger you should be prepared for. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself spending a lot of money trying to get through all the flooded basement cleanup steps and replacing everything you lost.
Not sure where to start with waterproofing?
Give us a call! Our team at Cleanup & Total Restoration will assess the damage and walk you through the restoration process one step at a time.