Cleaning Basement Floors After Water Damage

water damage cleanup

Because water naturally finds its way to the lowest point inside a home, basement water damage is a frequent occurrence. Water inundation into a basement can result from household plumbing leaks, sewage backups and infiltration of ground water in the soil.

Basement water damage clean-up is a multi-stage project. If the basement is simply wet, DIY clean-up is doable.  However, if deeper standing water is present—or if the source is toxic—it’s best to contact water damage professionals.

First, Be Safe

Wet basements can be dangerous if electrical wiring or outlets have been contacted by water. Before entering a wet or flooded basement, have an electrician verify that it’s safe.

Next, determine the source of the water. Sewage backups often affect basement drains first. Raw sewage presents a serious toxic contamination hazard. Avoid any contact with the water and stay out of the basement to avoid inhaling fumes. Contact professional water damage experts to handle toxic clean-up. 

Cleaning Up

If the basement environment is safe to enter here are some suggestions for cleaning basement floors:

  • If pooling water is less than an inch deep, you may use a wet/dry vacuum or a portable sump pump to extract water from the basement. Mop up lesser amounts of residual water.
  • Open windows and run fans and a dehumidifier to help dry out the basement.  
  • Remove any basement carpeting or other absorbent materials that have been saturated. These will usually have to be discarded as cleaning and disinfection isn’t practical.
  • Assuming that basement floor drains are present and functional, wash away any residue with a hose or other water source. Then scrub the floor using a floor broom and a mixture of soapy warm water.  Rinse thoroughly.  
  • Disinfection is a critical part of basement water damage cleanup. Dormant mold spores common in basements are activated by moisture. In less than 48 hours, spores begin producing active growing mold that eventually spreads contamination throughout the house. Scrub the floor with a mixture of chlorine bleach and water to kill spores, then rinse again.
  • Continue operating fans and ventilating the basement until it is dry.

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