How to Disinfect the Basement After a Flood

Author: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Last Updated on

Heavy rains soak the neighborhood. Your sump pump can’t keep up with floodwaters flowing into the basement.

Sewage backup fills the downstairs with a contaminated mess. You’re facing black water cleanup.

You can clean the basement after an ordinary water disaster, but storms and sewer water complicate the job. Disinfecting the basement after flooding is a project you have to tackle as quickly as possible.

Understand Sanitizing and Disinfecting

It’s important to understand the difference between sanitizing and disinfecting a flooded basement.

• Sanitizing destroys most bacteria within 30 seconds.
• Disinfecting destroys all dangerous organisms within 10 minutes.

Basement flooding caused by a plumbing problem doesn’t usually pose serious health risks. You can handle this type of cleanup by sanitizing walls and floors.

Sewage backup or flood water in the basement turns floors and walls into a breeding ground for dangerous infectious organisms. Toxic black mold growth begins within 24 hours of contamination. When you face this type of water damage, you need to thoroughly disinfect all basement surfaces.

Take Care of General Cleanup First

Before you can disinfect the basement floor after a flood or sewage backup, you have to take care of the initial water damage. Always protect your safety and health by following strict guidelines for floodwater and sewage cleanup in the basement.

items in the basement

Don’t try to start sanitizing or disinfecting until the basement is clean and dry. Your goal is to prevent mold from setting in. Use fans and dehumidifiers to speed up the drying process.

Prep for Final Basement Cleaning

• Set up a work station near the basement door for easy access to cleaning tools and supplies.

• Minimize the spread of contamination and odors through the house by covering the door with a plastic sheet.

• Open windows in the basement to improve ventilation. Skip this step if it’s humid outside.

• Speed up the drying process by running dehumidifiers 24/7.

• Make sure you have chlorine bleach, mops, long-handled scrubbing brushes, clean rags and buckets.

• Suit up in long sleeves, heavy pants, gloves, rubber boots and protective goggles.

How Do You Sanitize an Unfinished Basement?

Sanitizing the basement after a flood takes time and muscle. Mix 1 tablespoon of bleach with 1 gallon of water. Use the solution to wipe down unfinished walls and mop concrete floors. Leave all surfaces wet for several minutes. After the concrete dries, repeat the process one more time.

How Do You Disinfect a Cement Floor?

Disinfecting a basement floor after a sewer backup or storm flooding requires a strong cleaning solution. Mix a quarter cup of chlorine bleach with 1 gallon of warm water.

disinfecting basement floor

Scrub the basement floor for at least five minutes. Let the solution set for another 10 minutes. Rinse well, let the floor dry, and repeat the process a second time.

Stay Safe Before and After

The job of disinfecting a basement comes with obvious health risks. Always wear protective gear. Work carefully so that you don’t lose your footing. Follow these tips for staying safe before and after flooded basement cleanup.

• Don’t go down in the basement during a flooding event.
• Don’t try to remove water from the basement until floodwaters recede.
• Don’t use a dry vacuum to clean up a wet basement floor.
• Don’t clean concrete surfaces with metal brushes or steel wool.
• Don’t try to salvage protective clothing and gear

Know When to Bring in the Pros

Cleaning up the basement after any type of water flooding can challenge your best DIY skills. Tackling water damage cleanup and basement disinfecting makes the job even harder.

flood damage professional chicago

Professional cleaning crews are trained and equipped to tackle the biggest jobs. They take care of everything from raw sewage backups to removing mud from a flooded basement. They pull out and replace water-damaged sheetrock in finished basements. Industry-trained technicians eliminate mold with certified removal and remediation processes.

If contaminated basement cleanup seems like more than you can handle, bring in a cleaning and restoration contractor. Let trained professionals do the hard work. They can even help you navigate the water damage claims process.

We’re Just a Phone Call Away

When you face any type of flooding at your home or business in Chicago or the suburbs, we’re here for you 24/7. Our technicians are industry-certified to take care of it all including Category 3 black water damage.

You can always trust ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba for expert flooded basement cleanup and complete property restoration. We’re just a phone call away at 773-647-1985.

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