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Clinton Township, Michigan
Clinton Township, Michigan

Cleaning Your Basement After A Flood

Thursday, July 9, 2020
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Cleaning water from your basement after a flood is always a dreaded task.  It is very important to move on this as soon as possible for health-related reasons. As soon as the water stops coming in, it’s time to prepare for clean-up.

Before you go downstairs to access the damage, there are safety issues to consider.  Some of the safety hazards that come with flooded basements are raw sewage, structural damage, gas leaks, and electrical shock. Although cleanup needs to start soon, make sure not to put your personal safety at risk.


First, you need to decide if the scope of this basement cleanup is too large of a task for you alone.  If it’s a big job, you can consider renting equipment at a reasonable price.  You will need to weigh out if it will be worth your time and money or to simply hire a professional service like Milson Pro Clean to perform the work for you.


If the weather has been continuous rain or you live in an area that has periodic flooding, many professional disaster companies may be overwhelmed.  Milson Pro Clean on most instances will be there within the hour.

Here are the steps to begin this water removal process.

If you have just a small amount of water on your floor (approximately an inch or less), you can use a wet/dry vacuum to remove the water. These vacuums are meant for small jobs and most have tanks that hold between 3 to 5 gallons of water. 

If you have a lot of water, you will need a sump pump which is best suited for larger basement cleanup jobs. Use caution when operating a sump pump.  You will need to wrap the electrical cord around a beam or railing to prevent it from being submerged in water. 

If your basement has flooded due to an outside water source such as snowfall or heavy rain, wait until the water outside of your house has receded and do not pump the water out too fast.

When heavy rain or snowfall was the cause of your flood, the water pressure in the soil surrounding your foundation is likely high. The result is that the pool of water inside your basement is balancing the outside pressure. If the water is removed too rapidly the basement foundation walls may crack or even crumble. 


Next, you will want to remove the water.  Start by pumping one-third of the water outside and then mark the new water level on the wall.  If the water level rose overnight, this means your basement is still flooding and you should wait to remove the rest.


Continue to mark the wall so that you will be able to monitor the incoming water levels. However, do NOT finish pumping the water from your basement until the flooding has finished.  Continue this process until all of the water has been removed. Use a wet/dry vacuum to pick up any small pools of water. 


Always watch your foundation walls for cracks or structural failure. If you notice anything, stop pumping the water immediately. This is a sign that the foundation is shifting and an indication that the water outside has not drained enough to relieve the pressure that is being applied to the outside of your foundation's walls. 

Next, you can begin the basement clean-up process.  After removing the water, it's important to begin your basement cleanup job as soon as possible in order to prevent mold and mildew.

To ensure the safety of your health, you will want to wear protective clothing, such as gloves, rubber boots, and old clothing. If sewage water was involved, wear a face mask and protective eyeglasses to protect yourself from harmful gases. Be very cautious around electrical equipment and/or sockets. It is best to avoid all appliances and electrical equipment until everything is completely dry. 

If you have damaged items, you will unfortunately not be able to salvage, especially if you had sewage in your basement.
The following items should be discarded:

  • • Carpet that has been deeply penetrated by floodwater or sewage.
  • • Walls and ceilings that have been soaked and have absorbed water. Walls should be removed 20" above the waterline.
  • • Insulation materials.
  • • Inexpensive articles that have been soaked. Including mattresses, box springs, and particleboard furniture.
  • • Items such as furniture coverings, pillows, cushions, and stuffed toys cannot be properly sanitized.
  • • Canned goods, vegetables, herbs, and any other food that came in contact with the floodwater. 

Salvageable Items

There are items that can be saved if cleaned properly.

  • • Floors and carpets that were only minimally affected by the flood. They should be rinsed and cleaned as quickly as possible. Carpets should be cleaned and deodorized. Consider having them professionally cleaned.
  • • Furniture that has had minimal contact with floodwater. Scrub the furniture with antibacterial soap or steam clean. 
  • • Clothing. Machine wash in hot, soapy water with one cup of chlorine bleach.
  • • All items that show no visible signs of contamination. They need to be cleaned and dried thoroughly.

Once you have washed down the basement and all salvageable items, it must be completely dried to prevent mold growth. Expose your basement to as much airflow as possible by, weather permitting, opening all windows and doors. Use fans or industrial blowers as well as your furnace heat and fan to help evaporate the water.  You can also use a dehumidifier to remove any moisture the fans were unable to dry from your basement. Windows should be closed when using a dehumidifier, and the holding container will need to be checked and emptied regularly. Move the unit around the basement to maximize its results. 

Consider hiring a professional like Milson Pro Clean to clean and dry your carpets. If you choose to do the work yourself, they should be dried within 2 days. 

Contact Milson Pro Clean at (586) 217-3687 for any disaster or emergency cleaning situation you may be facing or reach out to us on the contact form on our website.  We can be there within the hour!

You can trust the floor cleaning professionals at Milson Pro Clean to Handle Your Emergency Situation in the Quickest, Most Efficient, and Most Affordable Way Possible

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