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How to Sanitize Your Basement

Sanitizing your basement after a flood or mold infestation needs to be done properly, or otherwise your health and the health of your loved ones could be compromised.

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Having a basement can come in handy. Have a crib your kids no longer need, but you don’t want to throw it away? Put it in your basement! Don’t know what to do with all those decorations for Christmas and Halloween the rest of the year? Put them in the basement. Apart from being used as a storage room, a basement can also be converted into a living area. A finished one can easily become a spare bedroom for your guests, an entertainment area, a home gym, or your personal yoga studio. 

However, to stay functional, your basement needs to be dry and clean. A lot of homeowners spend a lot of time vacuuming, mopping, dusting, and scrubbing their homes, but they forget to give their basement the care it needs. 

It especially needs to be thoroughly cleaned after a flood. If you had standing water in your basement for some time, cleaning everything from top to bottom is necessary. Otherwise, this area will become a home to various germs that can lower your quality of life. Mold thrives in damp basements, and if you have noticed it on your walls, you need to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. 

It is particularly important to sanitize your basement after a flood caused by sewer problems. This situation can easily turn into a full-blown disaster, so it is crucial to disinfect this area as soon as possible. 

Whether you want to clean your basement after a flood, mold infestation, or both, here are several tips that will help you complete this task. 

Interior shot of flooded basement

The Important Difference Between Sanitizing and Disinfecting 

Most homeowners think that sanitizing and disinfecting something are two identical things. However, there is an important difference. While sanitizing destroys most bacteria in 30 seconds, disinfection kills all dangerous organisms in about 10 minutes. Therefore, depending on the seriousness of the problem, you will opt for one of these options. 

A basement flooded with tap water does not pose serious health risks. So, you can sanitize the floor and the walls and call it a day. On the other hand, if sewage backup caused the flood, your floors and walls will become a breeding ground for dangerous organisms that can put your health at risk.  

Toxic black mold begins to spread 24 hours after flooding. This type of situation requires thorough disinfection of all basement surfaces. 

Drying out the Basement 

Before you can sanitize your basement, you need to remove all excess water from it. Make sure you wear protective gear and do not start sanitizing the basement until it is completely dry. 

Drying out your basement is an important step because it can prevent mold from setting in. You can use a dehumidifier to speed up the process. If you don’t have one, use your fan. 

Prepare for Cleaning 

If you enter your basement through your home, cover the door with a plastic sheet so that all those odors don’t spread through the house. Put your cleaning supplies near your door so you can easily access them. While opening the basement windows might improve ventilation, do not do it if it is humid outside. Before you start cleaning make sure you have enough chlorine bleach, mops, scrubbing brushes, and buckets. 

Sanitizing the Basement 

Mix bleach with water and wipe down all unfinished walls and concrete floors. Leave all surfaces wet, and wait for them to dry. Afterward, repeat the process. 

If mold is found, call a mold remediation company.  

While scrubbing concrete surfaces with metal brushes or steel wool might sound like a good idea, it can only damage the concrete and widen already existing pores. As a result, the concrete will become even more porous.  

Make sure you wear protective gear at all times. When you are done with cleaning, throw away your protective clothing. 

Preventing Flooding Issues 

Cleaning the basement after a flood or mold infestation is no one’s favorite activity. Luckily, there are some ways you can avoid this problem. With state-of-the-art waterproofing solutions, you can keep your basement dry and moisture-free. When your basement is no longer humid, mold won’t appear in it. Let’s take a look at these waterproofing methods. 

Install an interior drainage system – Water can seep through the concrete basement walls and slowly fill your basement with standing water. Before you know it, this area will be full of mold. An interior drainage system can be installed along the basement walls to prevent this from happening. This system will collect excess water and direct it toward the sump pit.  

Install a sump pump system – A sump pit in your basement floor can collect water that accumulates underneath your home, while a sump pump can remove this water and direct it through the discharge drains away from your home. This way you won’t have to worry about flooding during heavy storms. 

Maintain your gutters – During heavy rains large volumes of water end up on your roof. Without gutters, all that water would fall to the ground and saturate the soil around your home’s perimeter. Unfortunately, the same thing would happen with clogged or cracked gutters. This is why maintaining them properly and regularly is essential. 

If you wish to ensure that your basement remains dry and mold-free, contact Complete Basement Systems, ask about our waterproofing measures and schedule a free inspection

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