Flooded Bathroom? Here Are 12 Essential Steps to Recovery

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: April 29, 2024

If your bathroom has flooded, you need to act quickly to prevent further damage. 

With more than 85 years of combined restoration experience, we know how to tackle this kind of work. 

In this blog, we’ve compiled our expertise to help you learn how to clean up your flooded bathroom and avoid future damage.

What to do When Your Bathroom Floods

bathroom water damage tech

1. Turn off the Water Supply

The first step in managing a flooded bathroom is to stop the water at its source.

 Whether the flood is due to a burst pipe, overflowing toilet, or any other cause, locating and turning off the water supply valve prevents further damage and allows for a clearer assessment of the situation.

2. Turn off the Electricity in the Affected Area

Before addressing the water, ensure safety by switching off the electricity to the bathroom and surrounding areas. 

Water is an excellent conductor of electricity, and stepping into a flooded bathroom without cutting the power can be extremely dangerous. 

Locate your circuit breaker and turn off any circuits that supply power to the flooded area to prevent the risk of electrocution.

3. Prioritize Personal Safety

Protect yourself by wearing waterproof boots and gloves when dealing with a flooded bathroom. 

Entering a flooded bathroom can be dangerous if the structural integrity has been compromised or if exposed fixtures can cause electric shock. 

Always assess the situation carefully and prioritize safety above all. 

If you’re dealing with Category 3 water damage, also known as “black water,” which includes sewage water and can contain harmful bacteria and viruses, you must contact a professional water remediation company to avoid severe health risks. 

4. Move Items Away from the Affected Area

    After ensuring the water and electricity are safely turned off, the next critical step is to move items away.

    This process involves disposing of non-salvageable items that have been contaminated by the water, especially if it is classified as Category 3 or “black water.” Valuables and items that can be saved should be moved to a dry area to prevent further damage. 

    Emptying cabinets, drawers, and shelves is also essential, as it helps mitigate damage to the items stored within and makes them easier to clean and dry. 

    Additionally, clearing the space makes it possible to clean and dry the bathroom thoroughly, assess the damage, and begin the necessary repairs without obstructions. 

    5. Call Your Insurance Company 

    Calling your insurance company immediately after a bathroom flood is a critical step in the recovery process. 

    Many homeowners’ insurance policies cover water damage, but the specifics can vary greatly, and timely reporting is essential for coverage. 

    6. Document the Damage

    Documenting the damage thoroughly is equally important for ensuring a successful claim.

    Always keep a record of all communications with your insurance provider, including emails, calls, and in-person meetings. These records could be vital in resolving disputes or confusion about coverage.

    7. Clean up Standing Water

    equipment drying flooded bathroom

    To prevent minor bathroom flooding, soak up the water with towels. A heavy mop and bucket work better for larger amounts of water. To tackle standing water, rent a wet vac from your local home improvement center.

    Here’s a quick breakdown of how to clean up the water in your space:

    • Use Towels: Begin by laying down towels around the perimeter of the pooled water. Towels absorb a surprising amount of water and help prevent the spread to other areas. Replace soaked towels with dry ones, continuously, until you’ve mopped up the bulk of the standing water. It’s critical to act swiftly to mitigate water seeping into floorboards or walls.
    • Break out the Mops: After towels have absorbed the initial volume of water, use a mop to deal with the residue. Mops are particularly effective on non-carpeted floors. Wring the mop frequently into a bucket to ensure you’re removing as much water as possible. This might prove a laborious process, but thoroughness is key in avoiding long-term moisture problems.
    • Use a Wet Vac: For more significant floods, a wet vacuum (or shop vac) is immensely helpful. These are designed to safely suck up water from floors and can be used on both carpet and hard surfaces. Before using a wet vac, make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to prevent electric shock or damage to the device. Also, ensure that the power source you’re using is safe and not at risk of water damage. Empty the vacuum regularly to maintain its efficiency and avoid overflowing. The collected water should be disposed of in a sink, toilet, or outdoor drainage system that’s not at risk of backing up.

    8. Begin the Drying Process

    Once you’ve removed the standing water, setting up dehumidifiers around the flooded area is essential to start the drying process. 

    Set up as many fans as possible so that they circulate crosscurrents of fresh air. If you run a dehumidifier in the wet bathroom, be sure to regularly check and empty its water well.

    Speed up drying time with heavy-duty drying equipment rentals from the home improvement center. Be patient. The process can take from several days to a week or more.

    9. Try to Fix the Source of the Leak

    Identifying and temporarily fixing the source of a leak can be crucial in preventing further damage after a bathroom flood. 

    • If the leak is coming from a visible pipe or fixture, applying a patch or using plumber’s tape can offer a temporary solution. 
    • For leaks at connections, tightening the joints with a wrench might stop the water flow. 
    • Placing a bucket under drips can also mitigate damage until a more permanent fix is implemented. 

    These are temporary measures and may not address the underlying issue. After stabilizing the situation, call a professional plumber. A licensed plumber can conduct a thorough inspection, identify the root cause of the flood, and perform the necessary repairs or replacements to prevent future incidents. 

    10. Check the Rest of the House

    After addressing the immediate areas affected by a bathroom flood, inspect the rest of your house for potential water damage, especially if the bathroom is located upstairs. 

    Check for any signs of moisture or leakage in the rooms directly below the bathroom. If you notice water spots or drips on the ceiling, contain the leak promptly to prevent further damage. 

    Placing buckets or other containers under leaks can catch dripping water and protect your floors, furniture, and belongings. 

    This step helps in minimizing damage and can be crucial in preventing the spread of moisture to other parts of your home, which can cause more extensive damage and increase the risk of mold growth.

    11. Address the Water Damage

    Once you’ve managed the immediate aftermath of a bathroom flood and checked the rest of the house for potential water damage, it’s crucial to take a closer look at the bathroom itself.

    Water damage can impact the drywall, flooring, and even the bathroom fixtures.

    Here’s what you need to know:

    • Drywall: Water-soaked drywall can become soft and might crumble, which compromises the structural integrity of the walls. Look for discoloration, swelling, or warping as signs of moisture intrusion. Mold can also develop on damp drywall, posing health risks.
    • Flooring: Depending on the type of flooring in your bathroom, water can seep underneath tiles, linoleum, or laminate, causing it to lift or warp. Wooden floors are particularly susceptible to water damage, leading to swelling, warping, or rotting over time.
    • Cabinetry and Fixtures: Inspect cabinets and fixtures for signs of water damage. Wooden cabinets can absorb water, leading to swelling and warping. Similarly, water can corrode metal fixtures and damage the finish or functionality of faucets and showerheads.

    If you discover water damage in your bathroom, you should call a professional water damage restoration company. 

    However, for minor damage, you may be able to DIY the repairs on your own. 

    While DIY fixes can be effective for some damage, it’s essential to assess the extent carefully. If you’re unsure or the damage is significant, enlisting professional help can save you time and ensure a thorough restoration.

    12. Disinfect the Bathroom

    Your final step in restoring the bathroom is a good scrubbing. Use a strong disinfectant to clean all surfaces, including the floor, tub and toilet base, cabinet bases, trim, and baseboards.

    This removes contaminants left behind by the flooding. It also refreshes the bathroom’s indoor air quality.

    Why Do Bathrooms Flood?

    bathroom flood restoration

    Bathrooms flood for a variety of reasons, often linked to plumbing issues or structural problems. 

    Common causes include the following:

    • Clogged pipes: Hair, soap scum, or other debris block water flow, leading to backups and overflows. 
    • Faulty fixtures: Leaky toilets or malfunctioning shower drains can contribute to unexpected water on the floor. 
    • Natural disasters: Heavy rains or floods can overwhelm drainage systems, pushing water back through pipes into homes. 
    • Inadequate waterproofing or grouting: These issues can fail to keep water contained, allowing it to seep through walls and floors. 

    Regular maintenance and prompt repairs are crucial in preventing these costly and inconvenient occurrences.

    How to Prevent Bathroom Water Damage

    As we’ve noted, it doesn’t take much to suddenly soak the entire bathroom. Fortunately, it’s easy to take these precautions that can prevent the bathroom from flooding.

    • Never put anything other than toilet paper in the toilet.
    • Routinely check for leaks in supply and drain lines.
    • Take care of slow sink or tub drains right away.
    • Make sure shut-off valves are in good condition.
    • Know how to turn off your home’s main water supply.
    • Don’t let tree or shrub roots invade sewer lines.
    • Keep the number of a certified water damage contractor handy.

    Need Help With Bathroom Flood Damage In Chicago Or The Suburbs? We Can Help!

    toilet overflow restoration

    We always enjoy sharing tips we develop as we take care of Chicago homeowners with emergency flood repair. We hope our bathroom flood cleanup guide comes in handy the next time you face a wet mess in the busiest room in the house.

    If you’re dealing with a bathroom flood that’s too big or dangerous for DIY cleanup, give us a call. We earn our reputation as one of the best flood cleanup companies in Chicago and the suburbs every day.

    Our teams here at ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba are standing by and ready to respond: 773-647-1985

    What is the average cost to fix a flooded bathroom?

    The average cost of fixing a flooded bathroom ranges from $1,100 to $4,500. Estimates depend on various factors, including plumbing repairs and the extent of water damage to floors, walls, and cabinets. Sewage cleanup and mold remediation services also add to the final cost. For a more accurate quote, contact a restoration company like ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba.

    Can you flush a toilet after a flood?

    No, you should not flush a toilet after a flood. If your toilet has flooded due to an overflow or pipe burst, it’s best to avoid using it until the cause of the flood is addressed and the water has been properly cleaned up. Flushing the toilet can potentially exacerbate the issue and cause more water damage. It’s important to turn off the water supply

    How long does it take to fix a flooded bathroom?

    The time it takes to fix a flooded bathroom can also vary depending on the extent of the damage and the availability of professional restoration services. In some cases, minor flooding may only take a few hours to clean up and repair. However, more severe floods can take several days or even weeks to fully address and restore.