How to Clean up after Water Damage

Rubber ducks floating in water with the laundry room in the background blurred

Thanks to shifting weather patterns, there have been record-breaking rainfall amounts and even serious hurricanes causing flooding in many parts of the country. This has meant more water damage for homeowners in these areas. Flood waters leave residents’ homes and businesses in havoc. Even small floods leave damaged carpet, flooring, drywall, furniture, and clothing. It can feel like a nightmare! If you’re able to act quickly and follow these important steps, you can minimize water damage and put your home back together again.

Call Your Home Insurance Provider Immediately

Man sitting on his couch with water up to his ankles

Your insurance company will need to be notified about what’s happened. They'll send out an adjuster to take a look at the damage, as well as give you recommendations about what your next steps should be. They can put you in touch with a local disaster recovery unit to help with the clean-up. If your home needs major repairs and clean-up or is not suitable to live in during the clean-up, many insurance policies will pay for and help secure temporary living arrangements. Be sure to check what your policy covers.

Stop the Water

Water rushing

Regardless of the cause of water damage in your home, it’s very important to shut off the main water line and power. While turning off power isn’t essential for small leaks, shutting off your water will prevent further damage from occurring. After you stop further water from coming into your home, you can now begin the drying process.

Begin the Drying Process

Fan blowing into kitchen cabinet

You’ll need to remove your wet furniture, household items, rugs, and carpeting from your home. Things that can be saved can be set aside in an area where they can dry out and be repaired if necessary.Dry out the affected areas by using a wet-dry vacuum, squeegee, mops, fan and any other means that you have available.

This is a great time to get in touch with a water damage specialist and a mold specialist.They can assess the damage to any drywall, woodwork, floors or sub flooring and determine what needs to be replaced or what can be restored. A mold specialist will test for the presence of mold and help remove it. Mold can be hard to get rid of and can cause health issues for you and your family. If it’s present, it’s best to let the pros handle it.

Having these inspections is a good idea because they can check to make sure that nothing was missed during your initial cleanup and that all moisture has been eliminated.

Repair Water-damaged Areas

Person wearing protective covers over their shoes walking into a house

If you have hardwood floors or even plywood sub flooring, it can be difficult to determine if they're completely dry. Often a padding layer is placed between the sub flooring and other flooring materials such as carpeting. This can trap water and cause more water damage. For hardwood floors, there are some machines that can pull up excess moisture without needing to replace them. If you’re in a situation where water damage cannot be corrected, you may need to replace the entire floor. You may also need to replace, walls, light fixtures, furniture, and household items like your appliances.

Rebuilding after water damage can feel like you’re starting from scratch. Work closely with your insurance adjuster. They will tell you how much your insurance company will pay out and what trusted, local companies to call for repairs.

Article Author

Michael Jacobs

Michael Jacobs is the Head of the Customer Care Department at with primary focus on client satisfaction. He is passionate about his work and sharing his experience. He blogs about everything related to home building, improving, and decorating. He is very concerned of the current ecological situation, especially water scarcity issues. He believes there are no secret paths to success and it is only the result of hard work and learning from failures.