Water Works: Best Tips for Cleaning Water Damage


Image courtesy of coward_lion at
Image courtesy of coward_lion at

Water damage can be devastating to your home, and you need to respond to the problem quickly to minimize the damage. Whether the water has come in as heavy storms moved through your area, or there was an unexpected sewer backup, knowing what to do first will save you time and money in the long run. Here are some of the top tips for handling any type of water damage, and getting your home back in order.

Remove Debris, Extract Water

The first order of business is to go out and rent a carpet extractor from your local tool supply company. While your home carpet cleaner might be fine for a small area of flooding, you can easily burn the motor if you’re trying to clear a large area. The commercial machines also hold more water, so you’ll make fewer trips to empty them. If you’re dealing with a few feet of water, then you’ll want to start by renting a submersible sump pump to get the water down to just a few inches.
As you go through the removal process, you’ll also need to clear out debris. Junk floating in the water can clog the sump pump, and trash on the floor will eventually get stuck in the carpet machine. Always wear rubber boots when working in flooded areas to protect yourself from sharp edges and bacteria.

Passive Treatments

Passive treatments don’t require much active work from you, and they include fans and dehumidifiers. The great thing about these options is you can allow them to run in one area while you work in another, and you can keep them going 24 hours a day. As the excess moisture is removed from wood and carpet, the home will start to smell better and wood will return to its original size.

Start Disinfecting

A general rule of thumb is that flooded carpet and padding must be replaced to prevent problems with mold. Once the carpet is out and the area is dry, you’re ready to disinfect the remaining surfaces. Use a solution of bleach to wipe everything down and let it air dry. You should be able to smell the bleach without creating an overwhelming chemical cloud.

Finally, be sure to contact your Underwriters Insurance Broker (BC) Ltd to discuss the damage and see if you have any protection under your homeowner’s policy. Most flooding as a result of rain is not covered, but sewer backups and sump pump failures might be covered under a Vancouver condo insurance plan.


Karla Urwitz
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One thought on “Water Works: Best Tips for Cleaning Water Damage

  1. I totally agree that experiencing water damage can be really devastating to one’s property. My sister’s basement got flooded last night and they have stayed in my place for the time being. I hope that the affected areas would dry easily so they can start the clean-up.

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