Return home only when authorities say it is safe to do so. Return home during the daytime so it is easier to see the impact of flooding. To ensure accuracy and safety, consider hiring a professional cleaner to assist in post-flood cleaning.
- Alberta Health Services has a "Cleaning the house after a flood" document that is a good reference
- Always ensure it is safe to enter by checking foundation, if there are power lines down near your house, or smells of gas near your home. Do not enter your home it is unsafe to do so.
Steps for cleaning after a flood:
It is important to clean and dry your property after a flood as soon as possible to prevent further damage and reduce risks to your health. Here are some helpful tips:
- Safety and protective equipment and clothing:
Gather items to help clean:
- Reduce contact with floodwater or anything that may have been in contact with it
- Wear rubber boots, coveralls, gloves, face mask, hard hat, and safety glasses
- Never use water that may be contaminated, and wash your hands often
- Do not touch your face or skin during clean up or eating to ensure there is no handling of contaminated items
Sort items that need to be discarded or replaced, such as: food, couches, rugs, bedding, carpets, mattresses, cosmetics, pillows, **Always throw away these items if they have been exposed directly to the flood.
- Protective gear
- Pails, mops and squeegees
- Plastic garbage bags and large containers
- Unscented detergent, disinfectants, chlorine bleach or rubbing alcohol
- Brushes and brooms
- Equipment such as extension cords, water pumps, shop vacuums, carbon monoxide detectors, dehumidifiers, fans, and heaters
Work on one room at a time
- Be careful of mold and mildew in your home
Mold spores are often invisible and can cause long term illness. Symptoms include persistent headaches, sudden nosebleeds, or colds. Mold is identifiable by signs of brown, grey or black growth on surfaces; not all mold damage is visible though.
If your property has signs of mold, stay safe by finding alternate housing.
- Wear a dust mask and rubber gloves.
- Dispose of all insulation material, particleboard, furniture, mattresses, box springs, stuffed toys, pillows, padding, cushions and furniture coverings that show signs of mold.
- Freeze important textiles and documents until you have time to treat them.
Plastic and hardwood items may be saved. Let wet mold dry, then brush it off outdoors, and disinfect. Washable items can also be saved. Disinfect by lightly misting each item with a cleaner (e.g. rubbing alcohol or chlorine bleach; use 1 part cleaner to 4 parts water).
- Keep children and pets away from contaminated areas during clean-up
- Clean all interior wall and floor cavities with a solution of water and unscented detergent
- Mud can be dried and brushed off
- Move damp items to a cool, dry area as soon as possible. Set up fans to minimize mold growth
Dry out your home
Dispose of items in a safe and responsible way
- Dry carpets within the first two days, and replace if carpets are deeply penetrated or damaged
- Open doors and windows
- Open closet and room doors in the house
- Use fans and de-humidifiers
- Call 311 to find out how to dispose of items appropriately, or visit our Waste Wizard to find out more about proper item disposal
<< Return to Flooding Main Page
For more information
Submit a service request
Phone: 311 or 403-320-3111 (if outside of Lethbridge)
Address: City Hall, 910 4 Avenue South, Lethbridge, Alberta, T1J 0P6