MOLINE, Ill. — The Mississippi River is starting to recede, although it will be a while before we get back to normal levels, it is never too early to know what to do after the flood waters leave.
Precautions to prevent injury during clean-up:
- Air out and wipe dry all appliances and electrical outlets exposed to water. If necessary, you may have to turn off the main power to your home.
- If you have fuel, oil or gas systems, be sure tanks are secure and all lines are free from breaks.
- Wear rubber boots, gloves, and an N95 or HEPA respirator mask during clean-up and removal.
- Open windows to ventilate and dry the area.
Home cleaning guidelines:
- Discard any contaminated objects that cannot be thoroughly washed or laundered.
- Wash contaminated surfaces and objects with warm, soapy water and disinfect with a bleach water solution with 1 cup of bleach per every gallon of water. If items are sensitive to bleach, use a laundry disinfectant.
- Do not use ammonia and do not mix it with bleach as the vapors are very dangerous to inhale.
Cleaning Carpets and Rugs
- If carpets and rugs cannot be thoroughly dried and cleaned, they need to be discarded and replaced.
- If only a small section of the carpet or rug is damaged, you can use a mild detergent to clean it.
- If you have the funds, there are professional home cleaning services that can clean your carpet for you.
Floors, Drapes and Furniture
Floors and hard surfaces should be cleaned with a solution made of one cup of bleach per gallon of water. You can use a household disinfectant on items affected by bleach such as drapes and furniture. If you have the funds, a professional cleaning company can clean your furniture and drapes as well.
- Pump out standing water and remove all debris. You will need to pump once waters have receded below basement level.
- Allow debris to drain before disposal and strain liquids from trash.
- Once strained, wrap debris in newspaper and store in tight lid garbage cans until pick up.
- Paneling and wallboard must be immediately cleaned and thoroughly dried. If damage is severe, the paneling needs to be removed and replaced.
Food and Water
- Until the water supply is safe, only use bottled and distilled water for all your needs.
- If refrigerators or freezers have taken in water, discard food stored there.
- If power was lost for a long period of time, discard the food even if flood waters did not get into the refrigerator or freezer.
- Discard bulging or leaking canned food or food stored in jars, undented cans can be cleaned with a bleach solution before use.