Post Flood: Cleaning and Disinfecting Tips

Spring floods are no stranger to river towns and the Mississippi is on a historic pace again cresting at 21 feet the 9th highest on record. With flood starting to recede Dubuque County people often acknowledge the damage flooding can cause too homes and businesses however, not don’t realize the damage it can cause to your health.

According to Dubuque County Health expert Patrice Lambert, the post-flood cleanup can pose an infection.

” If people aren’t careful around the water or to have a scratch on their hand or their leg, or anywhere on their body and if they’re in flooded water it might get infected”

These are a few simple rules for cleaning and disinfecting items after flooding:

  1. Make sure the item is in good repair. Items that have been torn splintered, cracked, broken, etc should be discarded and replaced.
  2. To clean small items soaked by flood water that are porous( will absorb water) such as bedding, clothing, stuffed animals, etc.
    •Pre-soak items in cold water before machine washing to remove mud and filth. DO NOT pre-soak in your washer as it may cause damage. Curtains, blankets, accent rugs, and other items can be hung on a line and hosed down to remove mud and filth.
    •Use hot water and detergent when washing items. Be careful not to overload the washing machine.
    •Add 1 cup of liquid chlorine bleach for front-loading washers
  3. Large items that are porous such as patio upholstered furniture, mattresses wall to wall carpeting, etc that have been soaked by flooded water MUST be discarded.
  4. To clean items that are solid ( will not absorb water) such as concrete tile or vinyl flooring, plastic patio toys, picture frames, etc.
  5. Prepare a bleach solution following the manufacturer’s label and instructions for disinfecting.

For additional tips and resources check out the click here.

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