Whether heavy rain or a busted pipe has left you with a few inches of water in your basement, it should be cleaned up promptly and safely. Cleaning up a flooded basement can seem like a daunting task, you may not know where to start. Here is a basic guide on how to clean up a flooded basement.
If the flooding was due to heavy rain or stormwater, wait until the storm has passed to start the clean-up process. If the water is caused by a burst water pipe, or something similar, take action as soon as possible. If you do not know why there is water in your basement or if the water contains sewage, contact a professional.
Before you start to clean up a flooded basement you need to protect yourself from any hazards.
- Shut the power off to flooded areas and wear rubber boots
- Wear waterproof gloves, work boots/rubber boots, safety mask, and googles
- Open windows to aid in ventilation
- Never operate gas-powered equipment indoors
Before you begin cleaning take photos and video for insurance claims.
Start by removing the water from your flooded basement, this can be done with a submersible sump pump, a wet/dry vacuum or a mop and bucket. Get rid of as much excess water as possible. If there is significant flooding (multiple feet) it is best to only remove two feet of water per day, removing the water too quickly could cause structural damage.
Remove all wet items from the area and clean or dispose of them. Allow your items to dry thoroughly in a well-ventilated area.
If you have carpet in the flooded area remove that immediately in order for the floor underneath to dry properly. If interior/finished walls are wet it is important to remove the drywall and insulation. If there was a significant amount of water you may need to remove drywall and insulation up to 18 inches above the waterline. If you believe you have mold follow the Environmental Protection Agency’s guide.
Be sure to wash your floors and walls to remove any dirt left by the water. It may be necessary to rinse everything several times. Use a disinfectant to prevent mold and mildew growth. A wet/dry vacuum can be used to clean up the water during the cleaning process.
Your basement may take several days to dry, you can speed up the process with a dehumidifier and fans. Open doors and windows to maximize air circulation when possible.