After a flood, clean your home as soon as possible to protect your health, and especially before you move back in if you had to leave.
What are the health hazards after a flood?
- People can get sick from dirty floodwater.
- Mould can grow and make people sick if they swallow or breathe it in.
- Risk of electrocution or shock if appliances and electronics got wet.
How do I clean my home after a flood?
Call your home insurance they may be able to help.
Collect supplies and air out your home
- Open windows and doors
- Collect supplies for cleaning and protecting yourself:
- Gloves and masks
- Pails, mops, squeegees
- Garbage bags and containers for wet bedding and clothing
Remove water, mud and other debris
- Remove water with pumps, pails and/or a wet/dry shop vacuum.
Dispose of household items
- Remove all wet and dirty materials including wet insulation, drywall, mud and soil, furniture, appliances, clothing, and bedding.
- Work from the top down. Break open ceilings and walls that have been soaked or that have absorbed water to help dry them out. Remove materials at least 500 mm (20 in.) above the high-water line.
- Clean flood, walls and all affected areas and items with soap and water.
- Carpets must be cleaned and dried within two days.
- Sewage-soaked carpets must be thrown out.
Air out your home
- Air dry furniture, walls, ceilings and other items as fast as possible.
- Open windows and use a dehumidifier
- Use fans to help with drying out
Things should be dry within 48 hours or 2 days so mould doesn't grow.
Food and Water Safety
- If your water comes from a well, or your drinking water is unsafe to drink, boil well water for at least one minute before using or use bottled water for drinking, infant formula, making ice, washing fruits and vegetables, brushing teeth, etc.
- Once flooding has receded you may begin to disinfect your well. Refer to our fact sheet "Well Disinfection Procedure."
- Throw away any open food containers that came into contact with floodwater.
- Sealed and canned goods may be kept if the outside containers are washed and disinfected.
- If your fridge has been without power for over 4-6 hours, throw everything away.
- If your chest freezer is full, food will remain frozen for up to 48 hours after losing power, just keep the door closed.
- Remember: if in doubt, throw it out!
- Do not use flooded appliances and devices
- Before working on any electrical device, disconnect all power at the services panel by turning the main switch to the "off" position.
- If floodwater rose above outlets, power cords, or is near the service panel, contact your electrical company to turn off your power.
- If your power is turned off call a licensed electrician to determine what needs to be replaced.
- Do not plug in any electrical appliances that got wet until they have been checked by an electrician.