Clean Up Your Home
After a hurricane or flood, you may need to clean up your home and yard. Take steps to stay safe.
Wear Safety Gear
Protect yourself from injuries during cleanup by wearing:
- Hard hats
- Heavy work gloves
- Waterproof boots with steel toes
- Earplugs or headphones (if you’re working with noisy equipment)
For more information, check out:
Prevent or Clean Up Mold
After a storm or flood, mold can be a serious problem. Act fast to prevent or clean it up:
- Clean up and dry out your home quickly after the storm ends — within 24 to 48 hours if you can.
- Air out your house by opening doors and windows.
- Use fans to dry wet areas.
- Clean wet items and surfaces with detergent and water.
- Fix any leaks in roofs, walls, or plumbing as soon as you can.
- Throw away anything that you can’t clean or dry quickly. For example, you might need to get rid of carpeting and some furniture.
If you notice mold, clean it up with a mix of bleach and water:
- Never use bleach in a closed space. Open windows and doors first.
- Put on rubber gloves.
- To make your cleaner, mix 1 cup of household bleach with 1 gallon of water.
- Clean everything with mold on it.
Get more information about cleaning and preventing mold at Mold After a Disaster.
Remember that anything that's had contact with floodwater could carry germs. To keep your kids safe, make sure their toys are clean:
- Make a cleaning fluid by mixing 1 cup of bleach in 5 gallons of water.
- Wash off toys carefully with your cleaner.
- Let the toys air dry.
You may not be able to kill germs on some toys — like stuffed animals and baby toys. Throw out toys you can’t clean.
Pace Yourself During Clean Up
Cleaning up your home can be a big job. Be sure to take care of yourself:
- Rest when you need to.
- Decide which cleanup tasks are most important, and focus on those first. That way, you’re less likely to be overwhelmed.
- Get help lifting heavy or bulky objects. If you lift too much on your own, you could hurt yourself.
- Try to work with other people, so you aren’t alone.
- Get support from family members, friends, counselors, or therapists.
Go to Be Safe After a Hurricane for more safety tips to help you after a hurricane or flood.
- Page last reviewed: May 1, 2014
- Page last updated: August 8, 2014
- Content source:
- National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH); Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR); Office of Noncommunicable Diseases, Injury, and Environmental Health (ONDIEH); National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP); National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD)
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