Hurricane and Disaster Clean Up & Resources
Many insurance policies will cover the cost of professional cleanup if you can not move a big mess yourself. Check your policy. If you must do it yourself, take "before" and "after" photos or videotapes. Pump or bail water out of the house as soon as safely possible. Shovel mud out before it can dry. Open the windows to let the house air out and give the walls and floors a chance to dry. Scrub floors and walls with a stiff brush and mild soap and water.
Unplug as a safety precaution.
- Clean the outside with a grease cutter, then with detergent and water.
- Clean the inside with conventional oven cleaner.
Refrigerators and freezers
Unplug appliances as a safety precaution
- To remove odors, wash the inside with detergent and water. Make sure you wash the plastic gasket that seals the doors.
- Rinse with a cloth and clear water. Wipe dry.
Washers and Dryers
These appliances should be sanitized if they have been immersed in floodwater. Here's how:
- Unplug the appliances as a safety precaution,
- Pour a disinfectant into the empty washer. Run a 15-minute cycle using the hot water setting.
- Unplug the dryer and wipe the drum and dryer door with a cloth dipped in disinfectant solution.
- Rinse with a cloth dipped in clear water.
- Leave the dryer door open until all parts are dry, preferably overnight.
- When dry, the dryer can be used again.
- Leave the dishwasher door open until all parts are dry.
Books and papers
- Place books on end with leaves separated. When they are partially dry, pile and press books.
- Alternate drying and pressing until thoroughly dry.
- If books and papers are very damp, sprinkle cornstarch or talcum powder between the leaves to absorb moisture. Leave on for several hours, then brush off.
- When papers and books are almost dry, use an electric iron set on low heat and flatten the pages.
- Separate the pages to prevent musty odors.
- When books are completely dry, close them and clamp them closed using large C- clamps and plywood blocks to help them retain their shape.
- Photocopy very important papers because they may quickly disintegrate, even thought they've dried out.
Televisions, Stereos and VCR's
- Never open an electronic appliance to dry it inside. A television is especially dangerous. It has a tube and some other components that will retain very high electric voltages for quite awhile.
- Unplug the appliance and let it dry thoroughly. When you notice the moisture on the outside has dried, do not assume the inside has dried. Let the item continue to dry for a few more days. Placing the equipment in the sun will help but monitor the item closely. Liquid Crystal displays can be damaged by over exposure to the bright sunlight.
- After you are certain the item is completely dry inside and out, plug it in. If it won't work right away let it dry some more and try again later.
- If you see smoke or hear crackling sounds, unplug it and take it to a repair shop, you did the best you could.
- If the power indicator lights come on, leave the VCR on for about 10 minutes, then turn it off for about 30 minutes. Repeat the process leaving the appliance on for an extra five minutes each try.
- VCRs often have moisture sensors that refuse to let the machine play a tape until dry. Don't despair yet; keep following the procedures above.
- If the appliance power indicator does not come on, and your sure the outlet works, unplug it and take it to a repair shop.
Rugs and Carpets
- After shampooing, dry rugs or carpets quickly. Hang rugs on a line if possible, or lay them out flat in a warm, dry place. Use an electric fan to speed drying.
- Even though the surface seems dry, any moisture remaining at the base of the fiber tufts will cause mildew or rot.
If you must walk on the carpet before it is dry, cover it first with
brown paper towels. Vacuum again when dry and brush the nap in one
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