Last weekend, a number of residential neighborhoods in Metro Manila had to contend with the worst flood in 50 years. Now that Typhoon Ondoy has passed, those who were affected by the flood are now busy cleaning up the house and their personal belonging. Here are some tips and techniques for cleaning flooded items and sanitizing the house after a flood.
Before anything else, talk to your insurance agent and ask if your insurance covers Acts of God like floods and earthquakes. List down the damage and take photos of the house to help your insurance company assess the situation.
Remove as much mud as you can from the floors and walls, then use a hose to wash the surfaces.
Using an anti-bacterial, all-purpose house cleaner, disinfect every surface and piece of furniture. It’s important that your house cleaner have anti-bacterial properties because floodwaters are teeming with pathogens and bacteria.
Soak all dishes, porcelain, plastic dinnerware, and glasses in a gallon of hot water with 2 tablespoons of chlorine bleach. Leave them out to dry. Do not towel-dry.
Disinfect all metal utensils, pots, and pans by boiling them in water for 10 minutes. Do not use chlorine bleach because it will cause the metals to darken.
Clean the counters and cupboards with the anti-bacterial house cleaner before storing the dishes, glasses, and utensils.
Furniture and personal belongings
Let furniture, bedding, clothing, and rugs out to dry as soon as the floods recede. Keep your windows open to ventilate the room with air from outside to avoid developing molds and mildew. If molds and mildew are already there, vacuum the floors, walls, and ceiling to remove them, then wash with a disinfectant.
Mattresses and stuffed toys contaminated by flood waters have to be thrown away.
Upholstered furniture can still be salvaged and cleaned by a professional. Do not attempt to clean them yourself because the upholstery soaked up a lot of the bacteria from the floodwaters.
Unless the damage was severe, solid wood furniture can still be restored.
Dry out all photographs, books, and papers carefully.
Appliances will be affected by silt deposits, gritty deposits, and stained. Have them cleaned, sanitized, and serviced by a professional. Never plug in uncleaned electronics; you may end up short-circuiting the electronic components and shocking yourself.