Additional Recovery Steps

Step 4: Dry out your home
it is important to know how floodwater can affect your house in different ways.
  • Water damaged materials such as wallboards will disintegrate if it stays wet too long; wood can swell, warp or rot; electrical parts can short out, malfunction and cause fires or shock.
  • Mud, silt, and unknown contaminants in the water not only get everything dirty, they are also are very unhealthy.
  • Dampness promotes the growth of mildew, molds, or fungus that grow on everything.
Airing Out the House
If the weather permits, airing out the house will help prevent molding and mildew.
  • Open all doors and windows to increase ventilation.
  • Use fans and run dehumidifiers.
  • Drain the ceilings and walls.
  • Dry the ceilings, walls, and floors.
  • Use products like kitty litter, chemical dehumidifier packs used for drying boats and damp closets, and calcium chloride pellets to remove moisture.
  • Sort contents and discard debris, soaked mattresses, pillows, foam rubber, large carpets, carpet padding, upholstered couches and chairs, books, and paper products. 
  • Heirlooms and valuable books and papers may require special treatment.
  • Throw out water-soaked food, cosmetics, medicines and medical supplies, 
    stuffed animals, and baby toys to avoid illnesses.
  • Call a contractor for estimates of work that you can't do on your own.
The Virginia Cooperative Extension Service has detailed information, especially about animals, landscape plants, and household items.

Step 5: Restore the Utilities
If your furnace, water heater, stove, or other gas or oil appliances were flooded to the level of the burners, turn off the valve on the pipe to the appliance. Don't operate them until they have been checked and cleaned professionally.

Step 6: Clean up the mess
Every flooded part of your house should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. To avoid being overwhelmed with your task, tackle one room at a time. You can do much of the cleaning, but some of it may need to be done by professionals.

Cleaning Supplies
  • Brooms, mops, brushes, sponges
  • Buckets, hose
  • Rubber gloves
  • Face mask
  • Rags
  • Cleaning products
  • Disinfectants
  • Trash bags
  • Hair dryer
Discarded Items
Any items saturated or submerged by floodwater that should be discarded.
  • Large appliances (contact a dealer or repair shop for advice)
  • Stuffed animals and baby toys
  • Mattresses, pillows, foam rubber pads
  • Large carpets and carpet padding
  • Upholstered couches and chairs
  • Books and paper products
  • Medicine/medical supplies and cosmetics
  • Plastic, wood or chipped cookware
  • Small appliances that cannot be cleaned such as can openers and toasters.
Items to Keep
You may be able to save items that are damp from humidity, nonabsorbent items or items that can be soaked, washed, and disinfected.
  • Wood furniture without structural damage
  • Upholstered furniture, pillows, and mattresses
  • Glass and metal cookware
  • Wall hangings, draperies
  • Small rugs that can be removed for outside cleaning and disinfecting
  • Bedding, linens and towels that can be washed and disinfected
Cleaning Rules
  • Make sure your work area is well ventilated.
  • Use one bucket for your cleaning solution, one for your rinse water and replace the rinse water frequently.
  • Use cleaning products with caution. 
  • Bleach should not be mixed with other household products, especially ammonia, because a poisonous gas will form.
  • Wash exposed skin frequently and wear rubber gloves to protect your hands.
  • Wash with chlorine bleach or a disinfectant. Add one tablespoon of liquid chlorine bleach to one gallon of water.