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A sewage backup is one of the most terrible and headache-inducing problems you can experience as a homeowner. An overflowing toilet is terrifying in and of itself, and the sewage cleanup that follows will no doubt make you pledge to take all possible measures to prevent it from happening again.
In this article, we delve into what you should do immediately after your sewer backflow.
Is a Sewage Spill Bad for Your Health?
Yes, spills from a sewage backup can have adverse effects on your health. Sewage water consists of gray and black water from sinks, washing machines, dishwashers, bathroom drains, and toilets. It is teeming with bacteria, germs, and other harmful organisms. Exposure to these pathogens can cause adverse reactions ranging from respiratory issues to allergies to parasitic diseases. Immediate sewage cleanup is, therefore, crucial for your health.
An overflowing toilet can happen if your sewer backflow or the sewer line that carries black water from your home to the municipal sewage system infrastructure is clogged or damaged. Both situations can bring your neighbors’ toxic sewage waste into your home, so cleaning up is just as crucial as addressing the sewer damage that caused the backflow.
Cleaning Up After a Sewage Spill
An overflowing toilet due to backed-up sewer pipes can send black water, noxious gasses, and sewage waste inside your home. You must clean up immediately to keep the smell and germs from spreading in your home, avoid property damage, and prevent a devaluation of your house’s market price.
Here are some tips for cleaning up after a sewage spill:
1. Turn Off the Utilities
First things first: shut off the water supply to your toilet. It’s usually a valve situated right next to or at the back of the seat. Turning this off will keep water from flowing continuously out of the toilet. If the overflow reaches the electrical outlets in the bathroom, you should also turn off the electricity to be safe.
Don’t turn on the mains again until you have a skilled plumber present. Similarly, have a trusted electrician check your bathroom outlets and turn on the electricity when they say it’s safe.
We recommend leaving your bathroom while your toilet regurgitates black water and returning only when it has stopped.
2. Wear Protective Clothing
Prepare protective gear like rubber boots, gloves, respirator masks, and coveralls. Alternatively, you can use an N95 face mask, layer surgical gloves, and wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants you’re prepared to throw away if necessary.
3. Open the Windows
Once it’s safe to enter again, open the windows to ventilate the bathroom. You’ll want to release the chemical gasses and dissipate the foul odors from the sewer water.
4. Evacuate the Bathroom
Remove anything the sewer water hasn’t touched, like a rug near the door, portable storage, towels, and toiletries on your kitchen sink. You want to get these out of the room to avoid contamination from sewage gas and airborne contaminants erupting from your toilet.
5. Collect and Bag Your Contaminated Belongings
Unfortunately, carpets and other things that got soaked in black water will have to go. Wear long gloves and rubber boots, then put these contaminated objects in a garbage bag, ready to be thrown out when the garbage truck comes.
6. Remove the Still Water and Sewage Waste
Use a mop and bucket to remove the water manually. You may also use a wet vacuum, but you have to clean it thoroughly afterward with hot water and a strong disinfectant.
7. Wash and Disinfect the Floors
Check if your bathroom floor drain is working correctly. If it still drains water well, you can wash your bathroom floor with clean water and soap before doing a chemical disinfection.
Make sure the black water and waste materials have been pumped out before scrubbing all exposed hard surfaces with soap and hot water. Use clean brushes and mops, and pay extra attention to nooks and crannies, like the corners of your bathtub and the tiny space between the back of the toilet and the wall. Follow up with a heavy-duty disinfectant and use it on all remaining surfaces – the countertops, fixed cabinets, bathtub, shower stall, the walls, and every inch of the floor.
Although it is possible to do all of these on your own, hiring a company specializing in sewer water removal and backup cleanup services would be much easier and more efficient. Their expertise in sewage cleanup and unclogging blocked sewer pipes or drains will be very helpful, especially if the backflow happens because of some flaws in the municipal sewer systems.
Can You Ever Get Your Home Completely Clean From a Sewage Spill?
After witnessing the havoc caused by a sewage backup, many homeowners ask this valid question: “Can you ever get your home completely clean from a sewage spill?” The answer is yes – but only if you throw out all porous and absorbent objects that had been in contact with the black water (i.e., carpets, rugs, upholstered furniture, unsealed and unfinished wooden furniture, and loofahs). Most importantly, you need to disinfect your bathroom thoroughly.
This is why calling a company like Restoration 1 will be an advantage. If your bathroom has loose tiles or unlaminated wood walls and flooring, the contaminated water can penetrate them and make it harder to fully clean, sanitize, and dry out the room. Any moist area can become a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. If left untreated, the contamination can spread and cause structural damage to your home.
Call Restoration 1 for Sewage Backup Cleaning and Restoration
Calling a restoration company soon after your sewer backflow will help address the health and property damage concerns that come with the event. We have the proper equipment for pumping dirty water out of your house, so you won’t have to sacrifice your wet vacuum. Our licensed plumbers understand how municipal sewage systems work and can find what caused the backup, make necessary repairs, and ensure your toilet works perfectly again. Lastly, we offer an intensive disinfection service – our Keep It Clean Program – where we deep-clean and sanitize homes to protect our customers’ health and safety.
Contact Restoration 1 if you have a major sewage backup issue today.