Cleaning your property after a flood

Floods can have a devastating impact on people’s property and business. They strike quickly and often randomly, leading to damage that can be costly and difficult to repair. New research from The Climate Coalition has revealed that 1.8 million people in the UK live in an area with significant risk of flooding. It also found that floods cost the UK economy more than £1 billion each year. With changing climates increasing instances of extreme weather in the UK, it’s essential that property owners know how to react, repair and clean their property when a flood occurs.

Immediate response

Flood damage can be dangerous, and there are some immediate steps to take before assessment and clean up occurs. Before anything, it is essential that the electricity supply is switched off at the mains and that you do not touch the outlets. 

Flood water can contain all sorts of hazardous and unsanitary substances, including sewage waste and rodent urine. To protect yourself, you’ll need to ensure you have appropriate protective clothing including gloves, facemasks and overalls. You should also take extra precaution when cleaning your clothing and hands after flood clean-up, to prevent the risk of catching any illnesses. For example, rats carry Leptospires, which can cause Weil’s disease in humans.

Surveying the damage

It is often only once the flood water has been cleared that the full extent of the damage is revealed. Floors, walls, furniture, soft furnishing and even building structures can be impacted by flood waters. After a flood, it is essential that the property is assessed as quickly as possible to survey the extent of the damage. Having a clear plan of action in place can help to reduce the stress of dealing with the aftermath.

 

Call in the experts

Flood damage can be difficult to assess without a professional eye. What’s more, the clean-up can be incredibly difficult if you don’t have the right equipment and knowledge for the job. To guarantee the clean-up is as effective as possible, you should consider reaching out to professionals to assess the damage and any potential structural hazards. Our trained professionals can quickly and effectively ensure an affected property is cleaned and disinfected to its pre-incident state, eliminating health risks and minimising disruption. We would also advise that you contact a qualified electrician who can check all the electrics in the building and advise whether it’s safe to commence the clean-up operation.  

Remove water and silt or mud deposits

After a flood, it is vital that all water and is removed as quickly as possible. Once flood levels outside the property are lower than inside, you can start to pump out water without causing pressure to the building’s structure. To do this, we recommend using a pump and generator. If you are using a fuel generator, then it is important to make sure there’s enough ventilation within the room to prevent the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Remove any mud from inside the building, including large silt deposits that may have settled against internal walls. This is an important step in preventing further damage to the property. Remember to check both sides of the walls to ensure that your property’s structural integrity isn’t compromised.

Cleaning up

Once your property has been cleared of all water and debris, you can focus on cleaning the floors, walls, doors and other surfaces. This should always involve using a form of disinfectant that can prevent any mildew from building up, keeping the microbiological risk as low as possible. We advise removing any damaged flooring, such as carpets, skirting boards and tiles, as they can harbour odours and potential mould. Dehumidifiers will also aid in the drying process. 

As the exterior of a property is generally better equipped to deal with water than the interior of it, you can remove any surface dirt deposited simply by hosing it down.

Final thoughts

Flood damage can not only be costly and difficult to repair, it can also be incredibly dangerous. If in doubt, it is always best to work with professionals, who can clean and disinfect your property to restore it to its original state in the most timely and safe manner possible