Clean Your Flooded Basement with These Sure-Fire Methods

Cleaning your basement after flood water has dried up can be very challenging. If you don’t follow the appropriate methods, your basement will end up mold-ridden and with an awful stench. Read the following tips in order to enjoy a clean looking and clean smelling basement at least before the next superstorm comes.

1. Use a cleaning solution when scrubbing your basement. If a concrete or concrete-block surface is especially dirty, add detergent and a quarter cup of ammonia to a bucket of warm water and brush the solution over the surface with a stiff nylon brush. (Never use a metallic brush; metallic fibers can get trapped in the concrete and rust.) For really stubborn dirt, get extra kick by adding trisodium phosphate to the wash water. TSP is available at hardware stores. Rinse with a hose and let dry. Use a shop vacuum to remove excess water.

flooded basement

2. Use fragrant bleach to remove basement’s stinky smell. Mildew that takes up residence in a basement gives off an unpleasant, musty odor. Open windows to let in air, use fans to improve air circulation, and install a dehumidifier to remove moisture. To get rid of the fungal growth that’s the source of the smell, mix up a brew of 1 to 2 ounces of household bleach per quart of water in a spray bottle. Spray the walls and floors with the solution and scrub them with a nylon-bristled brush.

3. Treat the floor with bleaching powder. An easier solution for the floor in a smelly basement is to sprinkle it with chlorinated lime. Let it sit there, soaking up the bad odor and microorganisms that cause it, for a day, then sweep or vacuum it up. Dispose of the sweepings outdoors. If the odor persists, seal the concrete with concrete sealer.

4. Ditch the efflorescence and rust stains. The white powder that sometimes accumulates on the concrete walls or floor of a basement is efflorescence, soluble salts that remain when water seeps through concrete and evaporates. Clean it off with a rigid, nylon-bristled brush or a wet rag or mop. Do away with a rust spot by sprinkling it with dry cement and rubbing with a small piece of flagstone. The combination of dry cement and stone acts like pumice and should remove the stain.