Step Six

Clean Up the Mess

Every flooded part of your house - walls, floors, closets, shelves, contents - should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. To avoid being overwhelmed with your task, tackle one room at a time. You can do much of the cleaning, but some of it may need to be done by professionals.

Your Cleaning Supplies Checklist

  • Brooms, mops, brushes, sponges
  • Buckets, hose
  • Cleaning products
  • Disinfectants
  • Face mask
  • Hair dryer
  • Rags
  • Rubber gloves
  • Trash bags

When Cleaning / Disinfecting, Follow These General Rules

  • Make sure your work area is well ventilated.
  • Use cleaning products with caution. Bleach should not be mixed with other household products, especially ammonia, because a poisonous gas will form.
  • Use one bucket for your cleaning solution and another one for your rinse water and replace the rinse water frequently.
  • Wash exposed skin frequently and wear rubber gloves to protect your hands.
  • Wash with chlorine bleach or a disinfectant. Add one tablespoon of liquid chlorine bleach to one gallon of water.

Items You May Possibly Save

Items that are damp from humidity, nonabsorbent items, or items that can be soaked, washed, and disinfected:

  • Bedding, linens, and towels that can be washed and disinfected
  • Glass and metal cookware
  • Small rugs that can be removed for outside cleaning and disinfecting
  • Upholstered furniture, pillows, and mattresses
  • Wall hangings and draperies
  • Wood furniture without structural damage

Items Saturated or Submerged by Floodwater That Should Be Discarded

  • Books and paper products
  • Large appliances (contact a dealer or repair shop for advice)
  • Large carpets and carpet padding
  • Mattresses, pillows, foam rubber pads
  • Medicine / medical supplies and cosmetics
  • Plastic, wood, or chipped cookware
  • Small appliances that cannot be cleaned such as can openers and toasters
  • Stuffed animals and baby toys
  • Upholstered couches and chairs

Next Step to Recovery

Step Seven: Rebuild and Disaster-Proof Your House