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Five Ways To Effectively Deep Clean A Flooded Basement

Posted January 21, 2023 by Mike Lewis under Tips

Five Ways To Effectively Deep Clean A Flooded Basement

A flooded basement can be an extremely messy and frustrating situation. Water damage encourages mold growth, ruins belongings, and creates unhealthy conditions. Thoroughly cleaning a flooded basement is essential for restoring the space and preventing long-term issues. Here are five effective methods I recommend for deep cleaning a flooded basement:

1. Remove Standing Water

The first priority is to remove any standing water. Remaining water will continue to damage the basement and make cleaning efforts more difficult. Here are some tips for removing standing water:

  • Use a wet/dry vacuum to suck up as much water as possible. Be sure to use a vacuum specifically rated for wet cleanup.
  • Place absorbent materials like towels and rags on the floor to soak up water.
  • A sump pump can help rapidly pump water out if you have one installed.
  • Open any basement windows and point fans inside to help evaporate moisture.
  • Consider renting a water extraction pump if large volumes of water remain.

Thoroughly drying out the basement is crucial before proceeding with cleaning.

2. Disinfect Flooded Areas

Flood water contains dangerous contaminants. Disinfecting kills mold, bacteria and other microorganisms that can cause health issues. Effective disinfectants for flooded basements include:

  • Bleach – Mix 1 cup bleach per 1 gallon of water. Scrub on surfaces and let sit 10 minutes before rinsing.
  • White Vinegar – Has natural antibacterial properties. Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
  • Tea Tree Oil – Has mold-inhibiting abilities. Add 20 drops oil per gallon of water in a spray bottle.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide – Breaks down organic materials. Use 3% solution and let sit 10 minutes before rinsing.

Be sure to wear protective gear like gloves, goggles and a face mask when disinfecting. Open windows and use fans to ventilate.

3. Clear Out Damaged Materials

Sadly, some belongings will be unsalvageable after basement flooding. Removing water-logged debris is an important part of the cleaning process.

  • Discard any porous materials soaked by flood waters such as drywall, insulation, carpeting, soft furnishings and laminate wood. Mold can hide and grow in these.
  • Inspect wood furniture for signs of swelling. Wood with permanent warping will likely need to be thrown out.
  • Check electrical appliances for damage. Do not turn on until inspected by a professional.
  • Take inventory of damaged inventory or materials for potential insurance claims.

Properly disposing of all flooded debris helps prepare for deep cleaning.

4. Clean Surfaces

After disinfecting and removing damaged materials, roll up your sleeves and scrub down all hard surfaces.

  • Use a general degreaser cleaner on concrete floors. Agitate with a stiff brush and rinse thoroughly.
  • Wipe down wood, metal or plastic with a multi-surface cleaner and rinse several times.
  • For drywall, use a wet/dry vacuum attachment to suck up dust and particles before it dries.

Repeat the cleaning process several times until all surfaces are free of disinfectant solutions, dried mud and debris.

5. Dehumidify and Ventilate

Lowering moisture levels is vital for preventing mold growth. Continue dehumidifying and ventilating the basement after cleaning up flood damage.

  • Keep using dehumidifiers until the relative humidity reads below 50%.
  • Maintain proper air circulation by using portable fans.
  • If possible, leave basement windows open on dry days to air out residual moisture.
  • Monitor humidity levels with a hygrometer.

Persist with dehumidification until the basement has completely dried out.

Cleaning a flooded basement is tough work, but absolutely essential for removing contaminants and restoring the space after serious water damage. Use these five methods to deeply clean and sanitize the basement after flood waters recede. Stay vigilant about monitoring humidity and thoroughly drying the area to prevent harmful mold growth. With time and effort, it is possible to undo flood damage and regain a useable basement.

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