Basement Flooding Cleanup


When cleaning up:

  • Consult Manitoba Hydro or an electrician before entering a basement that has been flooded and before using electrical equipment
  • Pace yourself and take frequent breaks
  • Keep children away from contaminated areas

Hygiene

During cleanup, protect yourself from contamination by practicing good hygiene:

  • Wear protective clothing, rubber boots and waterproof gloves. Consider wearing eye protection
  • Wash your hands frequently, especially before eating, and when the work is done. Consider using antibacterial hand gels if access to hand washing is limited
  • Avoid direct skin contact with contaminated water and surfaces
  • Do not rub your mouth, eyes, ears or nose
  • Do not expose open cuts and sores to contamination
  • Change your clothes daily and wash contaminated clothes separately from others
Steps
  1. Provide adequate ventilation during cleanup
  2. Remove all water, mud and silt
  3. Discard absorbent materials that have been exposed to sewage or flood water contamination and that cannot be adequately cleaned
  4. A simple rule to follow throughout the cleanup of all contaminated items is: When in doubt, throw it out
  5. Thoroughly clean all surfaces and items with household detergent and hot water
  6. Thoroughly dry out all areas and items

Disinfection

Once you have thoroughly cleaned and dried the area, most surfaces do not need to be disinfected (i.e. kill germs). Special attention to selected items where disinfection is warranted would include:

  • Toys, or other items that may be handled by children
  • Cooking and eating utensils
  • Food containers
  • Cooking surfaces and food preparation areas

Objects can be disinfected using a bleach solution. A solution of 15 ml (1 tablespoon) of household bleach per 4 litres of water provides enough disinfection for most purposes. Up to 15 ml (1 tablespoon) per 1 litre can be used for objects that had been heavily contaminated.

Always follow manufacturer's label instructions when using these solutions, and use only in well-ventilated areas, as combining bleach with some other household cleaners can produce toxic fumes. Avoid skin contact.

  • Wipe surfaces with a disinfectant solution and allow to air dry
  • Dip dishes and cooking utensils in a bleach solution and allow to air-dry
  • Soak children's toys/items in a bleach solution for 5-10 minutes, rinse well, and allow to air-dry

Clothing and Bedding

  • Soiled clothing and bedding should be considered contaminated and should be washed thoroughly
  • Do not use your washing machine until your water is clean and your sewer line works
  • Mattresses, box springs, futons, quilts, comforters, duvets and pillows cannot be adequately cleaned and should be discarded

Steps

  1. Separate wet items as soon as possible (items left wet for long will grow mold)
  2. Hose off or pre-soak heavily soiled items. Shake out dried mud and dirt
  3. Wash clothes and bedding in detergent in the usual way (warm water preferred). Some loads may need two wash cycles
  4. Air-dry or use an automatic dryer at proper temperature settings. Air-drying outdoors helps reduce odors
  5. Items that require dry cleaning should be air-dried as quickly as possible and taken to the dry cleaner

Food and Medicine Contamination

Remember: When in doubt, throw it out.

If soiled, throw out:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Damaged canned goods (dents, leaks, swollen)
  • Products with screw-on lids and crimp caps (e.g. pickles, cheese spread, home-canned goods, beer and wine)
  • Packaged and dry goods (e.g. pastas)
  • Paper products (paper towels, kleenex)
  • Medicines

Undamaged canned goods can be saved, but should be washed in hot soapy water, rinsed and air dried before use.

For more information, please visit the City of Winnipeg's EmergWeb.

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