How to Clean a Flooded Basement

How to Clean a Flooded BasementExperiencing any type of flooding in your basement is a nightmare. Whether you have standing water of less than one inch or you’re wading around in your knee-high rainboots, feelings of loss and being overwhelmed can make it hard to know where to start. But you can clean up a flooded basement and determine what items can be salvaged and which should be thrown away. Start as soon as possible, within a few hours of the occurrence, to ensure mold and mildew don’t have time to start growing. These tips will help you through the process.

Remove the Water

Depending upon the level of water in your basement you’ll need a gas-powered water pump and wet vacuum. Use the pump to draw water out of the basement to the outdoors through a window or doorway. Continue pumping the water out until you’re no longer able to get any up with the pump. At this point, it’s time to switch to the wet vacuum and start removing the last of the moisture from the floor surface.

Dry Everything Out

It’s imperative that you dry everything out. Small items and furniture that can be brought outdoors into direct sunlight should be moved outside. Open windows to circulate fresh air and run a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the room.

To Keep or Not to Keep

Once items are dry it’s time to look over everything to decide what you can salvage and what must go in the garbage. Carpeting that’s been soaked and is unable to be dried thoroughly should be replaced to reduce the risk of mold. But other items that are dirty but in otherwise good condition can be cleaned.


Clean all nonwashable surfaces in your basement with full-strength white vinegar to kill mold and mildew and get rid of musty, damp odor. Wash surfaces as many times as needed until they are clean and your cleaning solution doesn’t turn brown. Clean washable items in the wash machine and line-dry them in direct sunlight.

Although the process of cleaning up after a flood is not fun or easy, it can be less stressful and expensive if you tackle the job as quickly as possible. The more the clock ticks, the more likely certain surfaces and items are to become damaged to the point of no return. Throughout the process, make sure to take photos for your home insurance agent so you can receive help or reimbursement for repairs and replacements you have to make.

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