How to Eliminate Bacteria From Your Flooded Basement
A wet basement can pose various problems around your home. It can be the source of dank, foul odors. The dampness in a wet basement can damage the structure of your home and present a health risk to your family. Mold spores and bacteria that thrive in wet basements can cause many health problems such as allergic reactions such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, skin rash, and more severe reactions including asthma and shortness of breath. In fact, when you notice musty odors coming from your basement, you can be sure mold and bacteria are present. Use the following four steps to get rid of bacteria in your wet basement.
Step 1 - Determine the Source of Your Leak
You may not actually see the mold, especially if it grows under carpeting or insulation, but it is impervious for you to quickly determine the source of the dampness. Water in your basement can be caused by many factors, such as leaking irrigation, or sprinkler pipes. Flooding due to heavy rain or snow is another cause, as are malfunctioning plumbing and fixtures located in the basement or on the floor above your basement, and cracks in your foundation.
Step 2 - Remove Accumulated Water
As soon as you determine the source of the water leak or flooding, remove it as quickly as possible. By attending to your wet basement quickly, you will eliminate the opportunity for mold and bacteria to grow.
If only a small amount of water has accumulated, you can wipe it up with a sponge or rag dipped in hot, soapy water. If you need to remove a large amount of water, you will need to use a shop-vac or even a sump pump if the flow is continuous. If the flooding is from backing up sewage pipes, you should use extra caution to prevent coming into contact with the water which may carry hazardous sewerage contaminants. When cleaning up floodwater, be sure to use protective equipment, including latex gloves and a face mask.
Step 3 - Disinfect the Area
After removing the initial water from your basement, scrub the entire area with soap and water. Afterward, wash the area with commercial disinfectant or diluted bleach. Again, make sure you use protective equipment. Dispose of any damp carpeting, wood, or other material that you cannot dry and thoroughly clean. Remove all sections of drywall that have soaked any water and all insulation that has been contaminated. All affected insulation and drywall will have to be replaced.
Step 4 - Waterproof Your Basement
To prevent future problems, take time to seal any cracks, holes, or openings you find in your basement. For small areas, use epoxy glue. For the larger spaces, you will need to use cement. If your basement is unfinished, you may want to waterproof the area. Unfortunately, waterproofing will not work for walls that you have painted, unless you choose to completely remove the paint. Contractors specializing in repairs of leaky basements and foundations can and should be hired or consulted when the job feels overwhelming.