Clean Up Guidelines

Cleaning Up After the severe weather event

If you are certain there is no sewage material present:

  • Remove all items from the wet area to a place where they can receive good air circulation and dry out.
  • Wash soft items like clothing, toys, stuffed animals, etc.
  • Clean upholstered furniture with detergent and hot water using an upholstery or carpet cleaner.
  • Remove carpet and pad so it may dry. Carpet and pad that remained wet longer than 24-48 hours may need to be replaced. Once dry, clean carpet with a carpet clean using detergent and hot water.
  • Drywall that was not wet long may dry out with enough ventilation and air circulation. Heavily damaged drywall may need to be replaced.

If there is any chance the water contained sewage or other potential contaminants:

Prior to undertaking a cleanup effort, take proper precautions:

  • Always wear protective gloves (latex, vinyl, or nitrile), eyewear/goggles, and boots.
  • Avoid direct contact with any possible sewage material.
  • Protect all cuts and scrapes. Immediately wash and disinfect any wound that comes in contact with anything contaminated by sewage.
  • To mitigate the health risk from an area potentially contaminated with sewage:
  1. Remove excess water from the area using a pump or wet vac. Liquid should be directed to a sanitary sewer system (such as your toilet) and MAY NOT be put into a storm drain.
  2. Collect any solid sewage and dispose of it in a sanitary sewer.
  3. Discard anything contaminated that is soft or permeable, including upholstered furniture and carpet and pad.
  4. To prepare hard surfaces for disinfection, wash surfaces first with warm soapy water and rinse surface.
  5. Clean and disinfect hard surfaces, such as concrete floors:
    • Wash surfaces first with warm soapy water and rinse
    • Disinfect using a one quarter cup of unscented household bleach to one gallon of water. Apply the disinfectant solution to all affected areas, let it remain wet and then dry thoroughly via evaporation.
    • Bleach should never be used directly without dilution since, in this concentrated form, the bleach can cause severe skin and respiratory hazards.
  6. Wash, disinfect, or discard any clothing or supplies used in the cleanup.

Discard Foam rubber Large carpets Books and paper products Food Cosmetics Medicines and medical supplies Stuffed animals Toys Mattresses and pillows Upholstered couches and chairs Carpet padding Cardboard

More in-depth cleanup information is available from the American Red Cross: