Wednesday, April 09, 2008
04:40 PM

Flood Clean Up Instructions**

Source: University of Missouri Extension, Disaster Resources Handbook, 2004

 BEFORE DOING ANYTHING…Does the outside inspection show the structure is safe?

Check for structural damage to see if it is safe to enter the building. Watch for electrical shorts and live wires. Electrical safety is most important in floods. Make sure that electrical service is DISCONNECTED and CANNOT be turned on before entering any structure. Turn off any outside gas lines at the tank or meter, and let the building air out for several minutes to remove gas fumes.

 Steps Towards Clean Up

If you have a question or problem with your insurance carrier, contact the Missouri Department of Insurance: 1-800-726-7390.

 Information & Referrals

 Electrical Systems

 Food & Water Sanitation

Until your local water utility or county health department declares your water source safe, purify all water, not only for drinking and cooking, but also for washing any part of the body.

To sterilize water, use one of these methods:




Floor Coverings

Carpets and Rugs

Carpets and rugs may be cleaned best by professionals.

To clean them yourself, pull up water-logged carpets, rugs and pads and dry outside on a clean, flat surface, such as a concrete driveway. If the rug is placed face down, stains will wick to the back instead of to the face yarns.

Hose off and, if badly soiled, add detergent. Work detergent into carpet with broom and rinse well. Remove as much water as possible quickly using steam, fans or water-extraction equipment. Take care to avoid electrical shock.

To discourage mildew and odors, rinse with a solution of 2 tablespoons of chlorine bleach per gallon of water. If the carpet is wool, do NOT add bleach.

Dry carpet and floor thoroughly before carpet is replaced.  If carpet is put down wet, it may mildew. Carpet and backing may shrink.

Discard all padding.


Layers of submerged plywood subfloors may separate. Sections that separate must be replaced to keep floor covering from buckling. When floor coverings are removed, allow subflooring to dry thoroughly (it may take several months). Check for warping before installing new flooring.

 Wood floors:

 Tile and sheet-vinyl floors:


Take furniture outdoors to clean. Hose or brush off mud. All parts (drawers, doors, etc.) should be removed. Remove or cut hole in back to push out stuck drawers and doors.

Dry slowly out of direct sunlight. (hot sunlight will warp furniture.) It may take several weeks to several months to dry.

 Cleaning and Disinfecting

Wash exposed skin parts (hands, feet, etc.) frequently in purified water. Wear rubber gloves for extra protection against contamination. As flood waters recede, use a disinfectant to clean walls and woodwork from top to bottom. A 3-gallon garden sprayer works well. One cup of household chlorine bleach per gallon of water can be used as a disinfectant. Scrub with a brush to help remove mud and silt. Rinse with clean water. Dry thoroughly. If utilities are on, use heater, fan or air conditioner to speed drying.


Household Appliances

Submerged appliances must be cleaned and dried before starting.

With electricity or fuel turned off, unplug and open as much as possible to rinse or wipe clean and let dry. Tilt to drain and aid quick drying. Three days to a week is necessary for drying. Appliance repair person should check before reconnecting. Most motorized appliances can be saved.


Flood-Damaged Walls


Mildew Prevention


Removing Mildew From Household Articles


Source: University of Missouri Extension, Disaster Resources Handbook, 2004

**From the Missouri Department Health and Senior Services - Emergence Response and Terrorism Web Site

University Outreach and Extension David Reinbott, reinbottd@missouri.edu
Agriculture Business Specialist
Last modified: April 09, 2008