Wednesday, September 17, 2014








·         Because floodwaters may carry disease from sewage, the only safe floodexposed foods are those in sealed metal cans. Vacuum packed food should be discarded due to difficulty in cleaning the packaging. Throw out dented or damaged cans as they might contain leaks.

·         All bottles or containers of food with screw top lids that have been flooded should be discarded. Food that has come into contact with contaminated floodwaters and cannot be washed and disinfected should be discarded.

·         All perishable foods left in a refrigerator for more than 24 hours without electricity should be discarded.

·         Frozen food left in a freezer will stay frozen for a few days without electricity if the door is kept shut. These products can be refrozen if ice crystals are still present and the food has not been exposed to flood waters.

Cosmetics and Medicines

·         All cosmetics, medicines, and other toiletries that have been exposed to flood waters should be disposed of.

Walls and Floors


·         Clean all mud from the premises, then scrub cement walls and floors thoroughly with detergent and water. Rinse and repeat. Rinse well and disinfect with a suitable diluted disinfectant.


·         Remove all mud and refuse. Clean, disinfect, and ventilate the area to dry the wood. Keeping the temperature at around 21 degrees Celsius will help the area to dry.

·         Plywood and particleboard sub floors are usually not recoverable after having been submerged in water as they are constructed from nonwaterproof glues, which separate when in contact with water.

·         Soaked wood floors, especially hardwood, may buckle. It may be possible to restore them but a new floor covering may be required.


·         Let plaster walls and ceilings dry thoroughly before washing. Brush off loose dirt, wash with a detergent or other cleaner and then disinfect.

·         Wallpaper will probably have to be replaced.

·         Linoleum and vinyl tile floors may be loosened or damaged by moisture. Take opinion for construction engineer / contractor to determine if the damage can be repaired.


·         Ceilings above the high water mark may appear dry and undamaged but should still be checked as water can wick upwards through the walls. Ceilings that are below the high water mark should be vented by removing ceiling tiles or cutting holes in each cavity between the floor joists. Clean and disinfect after checking.

Doors and Windows

·         Doors should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Removing the doorknobs and laying the door on a level surface may help to prevent warping of wooden doors.

·         Locks that have been exposed to flood waters should be taken apart and cleaned, disinfected, dried and oiled before reassembling. Be careful with the oil as it could drip.

·         Doors and window frames could be warping and twisting and should be repaired if necessary. Sliding windows should be removed and both the windows and track cleaned. Sliding or bifold doors should be removed and both the door and tracks cleaned and disinfected.

·         Do not paint and redecorate until everything is completely dry.

Wooden Furniture

·         Remove all drawers and other working parts as soon as possible. Clean and disinfect thoroughly and allow drying. Wipe varnished furniture that has not been in direct contact with the floodwaters, but instead exposed to high humidity, with a cloth dampened in ammonia, spirits of camphor or essence of peppermint to remove white spots or scum. Immediately apply furniture wax or polish.  


·         Chairs, chesterfields and sofas with metal or wooden frames, which have come into contact with floodwater, can sometimes be salvaged but the covering, stuffing and padding must be discarded.

·         Remove all dirt and debris, clean thoroughly and allow to dry in the sun, or use an electric heater or fan.

Rugs and Carpets

·         Remove loose dirt, shampoo with a product containing a disinfectant, and dry. (Make sure the disinfectant will not discolor the fabric). Sewage soaked carpets must be discarded.

·         To prevent mould and mildew it is essential to clean and thoroughly dry carpets as quickly as possible (within two days). You can do this by ventilating the area, applying heat, and using fans to circulate the air. Typically, homeowners can’t effectively dry large areas of soaked carpets themselves and qualified professionals are required.

·         Glued down rugs and carpets may have to be removed if submerged, as the floodwaters will deteriorate the glue. Carpet underpads may need to be replaced.

Dishes and Utensils

·         Contaminated dishes and utensils must be thoroughly washed with disinfectant, rinsed and disinfected before being used. Typically, utensils soaked in a chlorine solution of 1% for fifteen minutes should be disinfected.

·         Wooden utensils should be thrown out.

Clothing and Bedding

·         Mattresses and comforters soaked with floodwaters cannot be adequately disinfected and should be discarded. Pillows filled with feathers or synthetic material should be disposed of.

·         Cotton and linen fabric soiled with red or yellow clay need special treatment. DO NOT immerse in hot soapy water, or the stains will set. Brush off all loose dirt and rinse until no more dirt can be removed, then wash in warm soapy water (several times if necessary). Add a disinfectant at the end of the washing cycle but be careful when using bleach.


·         Clean with a damp cloth, then buff with a dry cloth. Stuff newspaper into purses and shoes to help retain their shape. Leave suitcases open to dry out. Keep leather goods away from heat or direct sunlight while drying. Clean with saddle soap when dry. Use a suede brush or steel wool on suede. Rinse leather and suede garments in cold water and dry them away from heat or direct sunlight.

Books, Documents and Paper Goods

1.      Water damaged books can be salvaged by careful, slow drying. However, sewage contaminated books should be disinfected or thrown away. After pages have been exposed to the air for a while they can be pressed to prevent crumbling. If they are not thoroughly dried, they may mildew.

2.      Make every attempt to clean and save legal documents and other valuable documents, as this is less costly than paying to replace them.

3.      Paper that is kept together in a wet state for several days may meld into a solid mass and become unsalvageable. Therefore, books and papers that have been damaged can be stored in a freezer until time is available to work on them. To do this:

·         Rinse off dirt, towel dry by blotting (not rubbing).

·         Wrap books loosely in freezer or waxed paper.

·         Pack (spine down) in a sturdy container.

·         Freeze.

If you have important books you wish to save or restore:

·         Hold the book closed when rinsing.

·         If the book is partially wet or damp, stand the book on the top or bottom edge with covers open at a 90 deg. angle and air dry.

·         If the book is very wet, lay it flat on a clean surface, interleave less than 20% of the book with absorbent material, and replace the interleaving when it becomes damp.

·         After the pages have been exposed to the air for a while, press them to prevent crumbling.

·         Alternate drying and pressing until the pages are thoroughly dry. Otherwise, mildew will result.

·         Avoid drying books for too long in the full sun as this can damage the bindings.


·         Remove from enclosures or frames and carefully rinse with cool clean water. Be sure not to touch or blot surfaces. Hang to air dry with clips on a nonimage area, or lay flat on absorbent paper. Keep the photographs from contact with adjacent surfaces or each other. If there are too many photographs to air dry in 48 hours, freezing them with freezer or wax paper interleaves may be able to preserve them for a time.

Framed Artwork

·         Remove paintings from the frames in a safe, dry place. DO NOT separate paintings from their stretchers. Keep wet paintings horizontal with the paint side up and nothing touching the surface. Avoid direct sunlight.

·         If the art has a glass frame and sticks to the glass, leave it in the frame and dry it with the glass side down.


·         Replace any telephone wiring that has been submerged. Even though the phone may still work, the floodwaters may cause corrosion, which could cause problems in the future.


·         Padded or stuffed toys such as stuffed animals should be discarded or taken to a professional cleaner. Plastic and metal toys should be cleaned with a detergent and a disinfectant. Toy clothing should be treated the same way as household clothing and bedding.

Other Equipment and Appliances

·         Before using, allow small appliances (toasters, kettles) to dry completely and then thoroughly clean with a detergent solution, rinse and disinfect.

·         All lighting fixtures that were flooded should be removed and checked. Take floor and table lamps apart and clean parts thoroughly.

·         Throw away any extension cords that are not in excellent condition.

·         Your gas appliances should be cleaned and controls and gas lines checked by a qualified serviceman before reuse.

·         Appliances with foam insulation, such as some ovens, refrigerators, and freezers that were submerged in floodwater, may have to be discarded because they cannot be disinfected. Check with a qualified serviceperson as to whether or not it is possible to remove and replace the insulation.

·         Consult electrician before operating any electric or motordriven appliance.

Water and Sewer Systems Home Plumbing

·         Have floor drains and sump pumps flushed and disinfected. If a private sewage disposal system is used, ensure that chlorinated (or other disinfectant) water is not discharged to the disposal field.

·         During a flood, the water pressure in the plumbing lines can reverse, and water in pipes can be contaminated with floodwater. Have a plumber inject bleach into the lines to disinfect them.

·         The municipality typically notifies households serviced by a municipal sewer when the sewage system has been restored. You should contact them if they do not inform.

Public Water Systems

·         If you are on a public water system, contact local officials in order to determine whether or not your water is safe to drink. It is advised to continue using boiled water for longer time after sever flood to be at safer side.

Returning to Home

Take following precautions before activating your house.
·         An electrician checks the electrical system.

·         A gas fitter has checked natural gas and propane appliances.

·         A safe supply of drinking water is available.

·         The sanitation facilities are working properly.

·         All floodcontaminated rooms have been cleaned and disinfected.

Before rebuilding, ensure that the house is dry. Many problems result from rebuilding after a flood before everything dries.
I am sure tips will be helpful to the house owners in J & K who may be in process of cleaning and arranging their home after the flood.



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