How To Clean A Flooded Basement

Suppose you have ever had to clean a flooded basement, then you know how difficult a task it can be. Whether it is because of a simple pipe breaking or your area is experiencing a flood, it is vital to know what to do right when it happens! You must have the right pump to remove water from a flooded basement in the most efficient way possible.

A flooded basement is a scary experience; it can also be a big hassle that can cause serious damage if not handled quickly and properly. It can look overwhelming at first glance, but after these simple steps on how to clean a flooded basement, there shouldn’t be a drop of water left on the floor!

Flooded Basement What To Do

Although this might seem like an obvious step, many people forget to examine the house’s exterior to make sure there are no major problems with the structure of the house. It is vital that one closely inspect the perimeter to see any gas leaks or power lines down.

Before stepping foot into the house, you need to ensure that the structural supports are intact and that the foundation is firm enough to be walking around in. If there is no water flooding the front door, it is safe to enter and begin the basement cleaning process.

Before entering your home or touching anything, you must make sure to check that the power and gas lines are turned off.

Even if your local utility company has turned off the electricity in your area, you must be certain that the power is turned off to avoid any risk. When doing this, it is important to use a wooden broomstick to not have to touch the plugs or cords.

Now, to aid in the ventilation process of releasing moisture from the room, open any doors or windows. If available, use large fans to help with this process because any additional help with getting rid of the massive amount of moisture will be beneficial.

This process is important because if the water is stored inside, it will create more mold and bacteria, not having anywhere for the damp air to escape.

Safety First

When dealing with a basement flooding cleanup, the waters can contain very hazardous waste. Keep this in mind so you can do your best to avoid coming into contact with bacteria.

Anyone going near the flooded area must be equipped with proper safety attire such as gloves, masks, boots, water-resistant clothing, and goggles. Bacteria can easily store up when moving objects that the flood has touched. If you try to touch these without wearing gloves, they can spread very easily.

After assessing the flood, it is time to begin moving as many items in the basement as possible. If there is a dry area, then proceed to move as many objects there as the space will sustain. However, if that is not an option, do your best to move what you can either upstairs or outside and leave the rest in one particular corner.

Also, if this option is available, you may stack items when necessary to try and make more floor space. This step is to try and salvage as many items as feasible by getting them up and out of the water as soon as possible.

The more time that the objects sit in the water, the more they will absorb the moisture and are in turn more likely to be permanently damaged.

Next, you want to try and free up as much space as possible, so after examining the damage that has been done to the room, throw away any objects that cannot be saved. Items such as cardboard that has been soaked objects already visibly showing mold or items that have been identified as trash should be removed first.

As a rule of thumb, if you are unsure whether or not an item can be saved, err on the side of caution and throw it out.

Best Pump To Remove Water From Basement

The best pump to remove water from the basement is a sump pump. A sump pump keeps the space beneath the basement and the basement itself from flooding. The sump acts as a tank that goes underneath the basement that will fill up when groundwater levels get higher rather than letting it leak out and cause damage.

Having a sump pump in your basement forces the water up to ground level, far away from the house, so that it can be correctly drained. Installing the pump guarantees that the basement will remain safe and sound whether or not the water comes from below or above.

There are two major kinds of sump pumps, automatic and manual. An automatic sump pump has a switch attached that activates the pump when the water reaches a certain height and turns the pump off when the sump pump has drained the water. A manual sump pump must be turned on and off manually.

Having a sump pump installed year-round will ensure that flooding doesn’t occur under normal circumstances. Still, it can also be used to remove the water that a single pump could not handle for major floods.

The Water Removal Process

Now, this is where the removal of the water begins to take place!

First, it is necessary to understand that although it will be your initial impulse to quickly begin removing the water, you have to go slow to remove it properly. While it may seem harmless to remove the water quickly, the process must be done slowly.

There is still a massive amount of water pressure in the soil outside the basement walls and under the foundation. In some instances, the water may be acting as a balance between the outside pressure. Without it, it could cause the walls to crack and deteriorate.

Start by removing the water from a basement about a third at a time. You can track how much water has been removed by making small marks on the wall.

You may be able to complete the basement flooding clean up process in one day. For basements that are flooded more than three feet, it is safer to try and do about two to three feet per day.

Keep going through this process until all the draining is finished.

Finished Basement Flooding Clean Up

Once you have finished this basement flooding cleanup process, it is time for the last and final step: the dreaded cleaning up.

Begin by shoveling out the mud and debris while it is still wet and washing down the walls to remove as much buildup before it becomes hard.

Depending on your situation, it might be necessary to sanitize the floors and walls with a common disinfectant. A general solution that can easily be made from your home for cleaning is a strong household bleached combined with hot water. This should drastically help clean any personal items that you are trying to salvage and combat any mildew and mold residue.

However, basement flooding cleanup can be a difficult and even dangerous process. When in doubt, it’s best to call a plumbing professional or water damage cleanup company. Basement flooding clean-up service cost between $1,000 – $4,000. Get quotes from a few different people so that you can compare prices and plans of action.

Mas Broto

Written by: Mas Broto

Mas Broto is a small business owner with 30 years experience in the real estate industry. He is the founder and editor of, the most comprehensive free home improvement website on the planet!