Know What To Throw: Flood Damage and Contamination
If major flood waters hit Queens, NY, residents have the unfortunate job of cleaning out their homes from damaged items. News videos of these flooded areas often show the contents of the homes piled on the curbs. Beds, dressers, couches, appliances, and more can be seen. You may be asking, “why does everything have to be thrown away?” The answer lies in the type of water that penetrated the house. Content cleaning should be done if gray water or black water is present.
Determining What To Throw Away
If items sit in contaminated water, they can become contaminated, too. Trying to be frugal can be dangerous to your health. The difference, however, is in the types of material. Anything porous will likely have to be disposed of; anything nonporous can be cleaned or decontaminated and used. Some content cleaning may need to be done professionally.
Dealing With Porous Materials
Anything that cannot be thoroughly disinfected should be discarded, or you risk keeping potential health hazards in your home. These are some examples:
- Books and toys
- Carpets and rugs
- Couches and mattresses
- Dry wall and insulation
Deciding on Nonporous Materials
If water is not able to penetrate the surface, then any contaminants may just sit and can be cleaned. These items should be thoroughly decontaminated with bleach, detergent, and hot water.
- Canned goods (toss the label)
- Working appliances
Whole House Systems
Household systems such as the heating or air conditioning are the types of content cleaning that should be professionally done to prevent the growth of mold and other contaminants. These can then be spread into the home through the vents.
The Centers for Disease Control warn that the time to try and save or be frugal is not after a major flood, especially with the potential for gray and black water. It’s often best to dispose of items or have professionals come in to clean and restore the home.