Basement Water Damage: A Guide To Restoring Or Trashing Personal Storage Items

Posted on: 18 March 2016

Basement floods can quickly fill a home and cause major problems, and when people use basements as a location for storage, these items can quickly become damaged and vulnerable to the flooding waters. When a water cleanup crew arrives, their first objective is to stop the flooding and dry the room as quickly as possible. Once this task is complete, further assessment can be done to the items that were kept for storage. If you're dealing with a flooded basement, use the following guide to determine the best methods for restoring your items in storage or deciding to permanently throw them away.

Dumpster Rentals

As water professionals clean up the basement area, there are likely a lot of items that need to go straight into the garbage. Your traditional garbage bins may not have enough space for items, so in many cases it's easy to just rent a large dumpster. With a dumpster, you can work with water clean-up professionals in disposing of items and getting them out of the basement. Large items like destroyed rugs can be tossed right into the dumpsters and removed from your home as soon as possible.

Boxed Items

One of the more vulnerable items in a flooded basement is any type of cardboard box. Boxes instantly soak up water and expose contents inside the box to hazardous water. Water professionals can examine these boxes to determine if there is a presence of mold. Mold growth can start within the first 24 hours of a flood, so if the clean-up professionals have not arrived within that time frame, many of these items may be lost to due mold growth. Vulnerable items that are kept in boxes include personal photographs, book collections, Christmas decorations, and clothes. If professionals arrive soon enough, these items may be able to get dried off and tested for mold. They should be removed from the wet box and laid out in a dry and safe area for further inspection.

Plastic Bins

One of the more protected items in your basement storage area is a plastic bin. Secure plastic bins can keep water and moisture out of the contents on the inside. As long as the bin has no cracks or missing covers, the contents on the inside should remain completely dry. Before opening the bins, a professional should properly clean the outside to eliminate any bacteria or dried water that remains. This will ensure that the contents on the inside are still fresh and safe. Once the bins are properly checked, you can retrieve your items and safely keep them.

Food Items

Many people use basements as food storage areas. One of the biggest concerns after a flood is worrying about the contamination of food. A majority of the food involved in a flood should be discarded, but there are a few exceptions. Boxed foods, jarred food, and food in plastic packages like chip bags should be discarded due to the threat of bacteria and contamination. One of the main items that you can keep is canned food, but there is a process for properly cleaning it. The labels on the cans should be ripped off because the moisture could contain harmful bacteria and possibly build up mold. Once the label is removed, the can should be scrubbed with dish soap and washed in hot water. This will eliminate the contaminated water that made contact with the can. Each can should be hand dried to eliminate the moisture. Once the basement is fully treated, the cans can be returned back to their original storage area. A permanent marker can be used to label the can so you remember what it is for future reference.

It's always a good idea to ask water damage professionals, such as those at RTC Restoration, for advice on your basement storage items. They can explain any safety issues or concerns they have with specific items and flooding issues.