How to Dry Your House After a Flood

Flooding in the home is an unpleasant and stressful situation.

How to dry out your home after water damage or flooding
How to dry out your home after water damage or flooding

Acting promptly, with the right tools, can prevent damage caused by mold and restore normalcy.

But how should we act to save floors, furniture and walls? Here are some useful tips to dry your home after a flood.

The first thing to do is to evaluate the damage, i.e. to establish if the flooding is minor or if, instead, it is a more serious situation.

In the first case you can act independently, but when dealing with a major flooding it is better to contact an expert to assess the conditions of the property.

The second question concerns the nature of the liquids to be treated. The intervention of a professional becomes absolutely necessary when the environment has been invaded by dirty water, which contains debris and harmful sewage.

On the other hand, if the flooding was caused by a broken pipe and the water to be eliminated is that of your water supply, you can act on your own using the necessary precautions.

Here are the steps to follow to dry the house after a flood.

How to dry the floor

If the flooding is not particularly severe, you need to equip yourself with rags, buckets and sponges to try to remove the excess water.

In the garage, it can be useful to use a water puller or broom, to push the liquid outside and clear the floor.

Pushing the water out only makes sense if the flooding is not coming from outside and/or if the water outside has a chance to drain away regularly, otherwise it's just wasted time and the water will end up going back in.

On the other hand, when the water level is about 2 cm, rags and buckets can do very little: in this case it is better to use a solid and liquid suction bin. This effective tool helps to quickly expel small amounts of water, but its capacity is limited.

With a larger volume of water, it is necessary to use a hydraulic pump, which operates directly inside the liquid and is turned off only when it has completed its work.

Depending on the nature of the liquids to be treated, there are immersion pumps for clean water and for dirty water.

Washing the floor

After expelling excess water, the floor needs a thorough cleaning, especially if the flooding was caused by rainwater.

To remove dirt and debris, sweep the floor with a stiff-bristled broom; if there is mud, help yourself with a shovel before cleaning the floors.

Needless to say, you should try to remove all furniture from the room in order to do a thorough cleaning.

Bleach is particularly effective at killing bacteria and preventing mold growth.

Leave it on for a few minutes and rinse well with warm water. If you feel it necessary, repeat the operation until the floor is free of dirt.

Drying the furniture

After having cleared the floor from the water, it is necessary to take care of the furniture that will be emptied first, and then dried well.

As already written above, furniture should be taken outside, if the weather permits, or in a room spared from flooding and whose windows can be left open for as long as necessary to dry the furniture.

At this stage it is important to act promptly, to avoid the appearance of mold that could permanently compromise the furniture. So proceed in this way:

  • Retrieve all valuables first and empty furniture of all contents.
  • Clean wood, plastic and metal surfaces with warm water and a mild, ammonia-free detergent.
  • Carefully dry furniture and leave it open, airing the room. Use a dehumidifier or fans to speed up the drying process.
  • Before closing the furniture make sure that it is completely dry. Failure to do so may result in unpleasant odors that are difficult to get rid of.

Drying out the walls

mold on plaster

The walls are perhaps the most problematic part of the house after a flood.

If the floor is tiled it won't absorb as much water, which happens massively if the floor is wooden.

However, the water tends to rise through the plaster and masonry of the walls and there it can stagnate even for many weeks, before it dries out permanently.

In the most serious cases it is necessary to have the help of a professional who will evaluate the state of the walls and ceiling and decide if it is necessary to completely restore the environment, resorting to more specific anti-mold treatments.

But before even thinking about an anti-mold treatment it is good to let everything dry and check the behavior of the plaster that could also swell and come off.

If, on the other hand, the flooding is minor, you can act on your own in this way:

  • if the outside temperature is warm, open the windows and let the room ventilate. Otherwise better to use a dehumidifier that will capture the moisture inside, drying the walls.
  • remove any wallpaper or porous coatings, such as plasterboard, leaving the wall completely free to dry.
  • clean the wall with a sponge soaked in water and bleach even in the part not directly affected by water.
  • in the days following the flooding, pay attention to the walls: if you notice the formation of mold, you should contact an expert.

Cleaning fabrics and blankets

In the immediacy of a flood, even all blankets can be used to absorb water, for lack of better, expecially if they are already soaked.

So, get other people to help you as well and wring out the water accumulated in the fabrics outside and then use the blankets as floor mops.

Buying new blankets is still cheaper than having to redo the floor or plaster.

However, any blankets that have come into contact with water will need to be taken outside first and then washed at a self-service laundry, where you can have them clean and dry in no time.

If the blankets have already been attacked by mold, consider throwing them away.

Useful tips

Whatever the extent of the damage caused by a flood  it is important to act safely, providing non-slip boots, gloves and masks.

And then, as mentioned at the beginning, you must act as quickly as possible, every hour counts and the more water stagnates, the more damage it causes.

Here are some useful tips for dealing with flooding:

  • If the electrical system is up to code, in the event of flooding, the circuit breaker should trip and then the power should be automatically suspended. Should the current still be on, avoid coming into contact with water and head for the main switch to cut off the electricity.
  • allow all appliances to air dry and do not use them until they are completely dry. In case of major flooding, consult the appliance's instruction manual to take proper action.
  • clean up small everyday items thoroughly, but discard any items that may have become contaminated by contact with mud and debris from a flood.
  • if you experience illness from mold exposure, discontinue immediately and call a doctor. Symptoms include coughing and difficulty breathing, headaches, eye irritation and skin injuries. In this case, you should contact an expert to restore the environment.

 

DIY Editor
Do-it-yourself enthusiast. I started with the renovation of my flat and then I changhed this passion into my job.