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September 5, 2017 01:00 PM

Cleaning and Sanitizing after Hurricanes

flooded homeThe American Cleaning Institute knows that many families affected by Hurricane Harvey are suffering and families will continue to be impacted by the flooding. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the devastation.

Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces in your home after a flood is a major undertaking.  It is important that it be done right to prevent further damage to the property and help prevent illness. Choosing and using the right cleaning product for the job is critical.  Keeping cleaning products in a secure location after a flood and during cleaning is crucial.

There is a difference between cleaning and disinfecting.
  • To clean means to physical remove dirt, germs and debris from a surface by scrubbing, washing and rinsing.
  • To disinfect means to apply a product that kills nearly 100% of of the germs identified on the label.
Important steps in Clean-Up:
  • Take photos of your damage before you begin clean up.
  • Wear protective clothing including long-sleeved shirts, long pants, rubber or plastic gloves and waterproof boots or shoes.
  • Take anything that was wet for 2 days or more outside.  These items could have mold growing on them even though you may not see it.
  • Throw out any items that absorb water and cannot be cleaned or disinfected (mattresses, carpeting, stuffed animals, etc.).
  • Remove and discard items made of cloth it you are unable to wash in hot water.
  • Bleach should be used to clean floors, stoves, sinks, certain dishes, countertops. Do not use more than one cup of bleach per gallon of water.  Remember to never mix bleach with ammonia or other cleaners.
  • Launder your flood-soiled fabrics when it is safe to do so. (water is back on and safe to use, electricity is restored, washing machine has been checked for damage, etc.) 
CDC - Clean Up
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