Alert close - icon Fill 1 Copy 10 Untitled-1 tt copy 3 Untitled-1 Untitled-1 tt copy 3 Fill 1 Copy 10 menu Group 3 Group 3 Copy 3 Group 3 Copy Page 1 Group 2 Group 2 Skip to content

Cleaning up and returning home after flooding

Advice for cleaning up and returning to your home after a flood.

Please read this important information and follow these instructions carefully if you are cleaning up after a flood.

As flood water may be contaminated there are some things you should remember when cleaning your home to keep safe:

  • cover open cuts and wounds on exposed skin with a waterproof plaster
  • remove all soft furnishings and fittings that are damaged beyond repair
  • remove all dirty water and silt from the property as much as possible, including out of the space under downstairs floorboards if you have these - this may require pumping out
  • wash down all hard surfaces with hot soapy water several times until visually clean
  • use a domestic disinfectant, following manufacturer's directions as to concentrations, to wash over all hard surfaces after cleaning - food preparation surfaces and storage cupboards, refrigerators should be washed down with food safe disinfectant
  • allow to thoroughly dry - this will also help to destroy any germs left behind
  • heating and good ventilation will help with the drying process

Clothing and bedding

Clothing, bedding and other fabric articles, including children's toys, should be washed on a hot wash (60C) to destroy any germs.

Other soft furnishings which have been damaged and cannot be put in a washing machine will have to be professionally cleaned or disposed of.

Find out about disposing of bulky items of household waste.

Getting rid of contaminants

Sometimes floodwater may contain contaminants such as oil or diesel. Usually these will be removed with the floodwater and silt.

If any is left and it is in an accessible area you can remove it with a detergent solution and washing the surface down after initial cleaning has been carried out.

Where it isn't accessible, such as beneath floorboards, it may cause a bad smell but isn't necessarily a health hazard.

You can seek advice from your district, borough or city council on this if the smell lingers or you are worried about your health.

Returning home

We recommend that you only return to live in your home once cleaning has been completed.

Additional work may also need to be carried out, your insurance company, housing officer, landlord, builder will advise you of this.

If you decide to return to your home before cleaning is complete you should:

  • try to have some heating on at all times, consider the use of a dehumidifier
  • make sure the property is well ventilated - leave windows open as much as possible
  • make sure that if you have air bricks to any under floor spaces that these are unblocked to give cross ventilation to these areas