Cleaning Up After a Flood
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Carpeted surfaces can be hard to dry out, especially if they're thoroughly soaked. Typically, your best bet will be to pull up the carpet and the pad after you've vacuumed up as much water as you can. This will help the wood subfloor dry faster. Training some fans on the area will help, too. It's important to get all trapped water out as quickly as possible. Failing to do so can both warp the subfloor and cause mildew.
After the carpets are dry, they can be reinstalled over new padding and steam-cleaned. However, if they were contaminated with sewage or dirty water, plan on replacing them. The same thing goes for upholstered furniture and, depending on the level of damage, possibly wood furniture too. In general, if you're in doubt about anything, throw it out.
Once the water is gone, hang wet throw rugs and other movable floor coverings outside over a clothesline or sawhorse so they can air out without mildewing.
It can take some time for a house to dry out. If you had to deal with a significant water problem, it could take weeks. During this time, you might start smelling a musty odor. This indicates mold and mildew growth.
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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Common Household Disasters © 2005 by Paul Hayman and Sonia Weiss. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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