How to Clean Up After Water Damage
One of the worst things that a homeowner can experience is water damage. Whether it is weather related, or you have had an incident with your pipes, you keep the damage minimal. Here are some steps to help you clean up water damage.
Step 1 - Get the Water Up
The very first thing is to remove all of the water to prevent further damage. The longer the water sits, the more damage you will have. Use a shop vac to extract as much of the water as you can. Go over your fabric covered furniture very well and place it outside if it is not raining. If you have curtains or pillows that are wet and can be laundered, this is a good time to toss them in the washer. When the water is fully removed, you'll need to increase airflow.
Step 2 - Get Air Circulating
If you have ceiling fans, turn them on their high setting. Open all of the windows. Place floor fans and box fans around the area. You'll need to dry everything in order to access the damage. After the area is well circulated, you need to turn on a dehumidifier.
Step 3 - Using a Dehumidifier
A dehumidifier will help extract water from the air. If you have a large area with water damage, you may want to use more than one. The dehumidifier has a tank that fills with water as it extracts it from the air. You will have to empty it as it fills, so check it often. Now that you have the drying process going, you will want to start collecting small items that may have gotten wet.
Step 4 - Salvage Paper Goods
Gather pictures, books, and any other paper goods that are wet. If they are not totally drenched, place them on a dry, hard surface to dry out. If they are ruined, you'll just have to throw them out. If your pictures are wet and you want to save them, put them in zip lock bags and toss them in your freezer. You can scan them later to make copies, or take them to a professional later.
Step 5 - Start Cleaning Hard Surfaces
Make a bucket of warm water and add all-purpose cleaner. Mop all of the hard floors, such as tile and hardwoods. Use a rag to wipe all of the hard surfaces on your furniture. Wipe the furniture dry last.
Step 6 - Accessing Wall and Ceiling Damage
Check your walls and ceilings to find areas that have bowed or bubbled. If your drywall has this issue, you will need to have it replaced. If it just has water stains, you can most likely fix it. You will need to seal the water stain with a product such as Kilz. You must seal the stain so that it does not come through or become moldy after you paint. Let the sealer dry, then repaint.