How to Clean Your Home’s Interior After Water Damage | Maid4condos

How to Clean Your Home’s Interior After Water Damage

How to Clean Your Home’s Interior After Water Damage
March 7, 2022

Probably one of the greatest fears you have as a homeowner is experiencing significant water damage. In fact, even the presence of moisture puts your home at risk. Floods and leaks are devastatingly damaging because water can seep in everywhere. In some cases, the water can be polluted, which causes an unbearable stench and puts your family at risk of illness.

Cleaning the interiors of your house after water damage

As well, the more time the water has to set in, the more risk there is for mould and mildew growth. Yuck! That’s why water damage requires immediate attention. However, where do you begin? Here, we explain how to clean your home’s interior after water damage.

Check and Photograph All Your Belongings

First, your home insurance might cover damages, so be sure to take photos of all damaged items before doing anything. You have to assess the situation by checking your furnishings, walls, carpets, and belongings. The things you can easily either send for cleaning or throw out, such as bedding, clothes, couch pillows, etc., should be photographed or video recorded for insurance.

If the water was contaminated, such as from flood water, or from wastewater because of burst pipes, then it is pretty simple: you will have to throw the items away. However, you need to find a safe place to store the items so the insurance adjuster can also assess the damage.

Sort and Air Out Items

Once you get your bearings and have everything recorded, it’s time to physically start sorting everything. You’ll have to remove large items like sofas and mattresses to clean the floors properly, so move them into another room. If you have a backyard or balcony where you can leave clean but wet items out to dry, the fresh air and sun can do wonders to help speed up the process.

Remove Water-Logged Carpeting

Once all the large items are out of the room, if you have wall-to-wall carpeting that is soaked or even damp, it can damage the subfloors and baseboards. Damage must be managed quickly, so be sure to remove water-logged carpeting, or have the professionals come within 48 hours to avoid permanently damaging the subfloors. If carpeting is soiled by contaminated water, then it will have to be removed and tossed.

If the water was clean, professional carpet cleaners can remove excess moisture. For area rugs, hang them out to dry. If they are badly soiled, you can have a professional rug cleaner assess them to see if they are salvageable. When wet, carpeting can actually shrink as it dries, so it really is a good idea to have everything checked by professional cleaners.

Professionally Clean Upholstered Furnishing and Mattresses

All upholstered furniture and mattresses soiled by contaminated water will have to be thrown away. If the water is clean, you can have the carpet cleaning company take a look, and they can most likely use their professional upholstery vacuums to remove excess water. Things like toss pillows can be squeezed out and potentially sent to the dry cleaners. However, as mentioned above, if you can leave them in direct sunlight, the sun can do wonders to dry and refresh smaller items.

Wipe Down Other Furnishings

Other furnishings such as metal, plastic, and wood are easier to manage. Even if soiled, they can be wiped down with a good all-purpose cleaner and then dried thoroughly with a clean absorbent cloth. Don’t leave wood furniture in the sun, as this will actually increase risk for warping. Instead, sop up as much moisture as possible, and then leave it to dry out slowly away from direct sunlight.

Wipe Down the Walls

Walls can be tricky, as the water is most likely where you can’t see it. This can be dangerous, as this is the ideal scenario for mould growth. It is also risky for the structure of the wood supporting the walls and floors above. If you see water damage such as wet carpets or ceilings, but the walls seem fine, you probably have to open them up to look for damage. First, do a thorough cleaning to remove anything that appears dirty with a good bleach cleaner. To help save the walls, you can remove the baseboards and drill holes along the floor line to see if water comes out. This also helps ventilate the moisture.

If there was flooding, once the water is drained, you’ll have to remove the drywall at least up to the waterline. If there is insulation in the wall, it will have to be replaced. Spray everything with a good bleach spray cleanser to disinfect and also kill any mould spores that might already have started growing.

If there was major flooding, you probably are better off speaking to a professional restoration company. They have industrial strength fans and dehumidifiers to speed up the drying process and avoid mould growth. Walls should be left open for about a month to allow everything to air out and dry properly.

Air Out the Floors

As mentioned, those subfloors beneath damp carpets or laminate are prime real estate for mould to move in. As well, whether it is hardwood or plywood, anything made of wood will swell from moisture. If they don’t have air circulation to dry them out properly, the damage will be costly not just for mould, but also because the wood will have to be replaced. Removing the carpeting allows the subfloors to dry. A professional dehumidifier is the best way to help the process along.

Otherwise, it actually takes months for the floors to dry out completely. Wood floors are the most vulnerable, as they can buckle and warp when the water is absorbed and the wood begins to swell. Again, a professional is your best bet in severe cases where the floors can be completely damaged from the moisture. The good news is that if the subfloor is concrete, you might not have to take such drastic actions.

Appliances and Electronics

Do not turn on appliances or electronics that were damaged by water. You can seriously injure yourself by electrocution.

Ongoing Mould Prevention

Unfortunately, once your belongings are exposed to large amounts of water, the dampness means they are vulnerable to mould growth. You’re going to have to keep an eye on everything to look for signs of mould.

Your nose will be a big help: if you smell a damp or musty smell, mould is growing somewhere. If you can, invest in a dehumidifier to help keep the air dry. In the winter, you can keep the heat on, and running the air conditioner in the summer also helps manage humidity levels.

Fans and open windows keep the air circulating in your home. Keep all the doors open in rooms that were affected to aid the drying process. This also helps if damage was in a closed-off area from sun and windows, such as hallways.

Cleaning Up Mildew

Mildew is another troublesome result of water damage. You might think you dried everything well, only to find mildew growth. If you do spot mildew, you might want to throw the items out. However, if you catch it early enough, you can wipe the mildew off with clean sudsy water and then dry the items thoroughly.

If you are trying to get your home back to normal after water damage, calling in residential cleaning services is the safest way to avoid mould, mildew and other problems that may arise. At Maid4Condos, we are ready to assist in the cleaning process and help get your home back to its comfy self. You can call us at 647-822-0601 or contact us online.

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