After the shock of having a river raging through your living room has subsided, and the threat to life and limb has been dealt with, you’re left to deal with the other casualties of the calamity—namely, damage to personal property! From water- and mud-soaked walls and furniture, to a car totem-pole, to fried gadgets, you’ll have to sort through the stuff that survived. How do you clean it all up and get things working again? Here, we sum up the solutions we’ve seen on the net:

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Cleaning your house

The major points we picked up: if you can call your insurance agent before you return to your home, do so to find out what’s included in your coverage. Document everything by taking photos and videos before you start to put things back in order. Make sure your house is structurally sound before you enter, and check if the utilities have sustained any damage. Air out the house to get rid of airborne contaminants. To protect yourself, get a tetanus shot before wading in floodwater, wear boots and protective clothing while cleaning, and wash your hands regularly while you work.

For more detailed instructions on cleaning your house, check out these useful articles:

Cleaning your flooded or water-damaged home by the Disaster Education service of the North Dakota State University - A general checklist of points to prepare for when dealing with a water damaged home; the context is for American homes, but most of the information is applicable.


Cleaning up after a flood on - Provides a more detailed list, with tips for cleaning specific materials and dealing with roof damage.

How to clean flood-damaged homes on ABS-CBN News - A report based on an ANC Shoptalk interview with a local architect and a maintenance service company.


Cleaning your car

Car owners will undoubtedly have a lot of concerns—from wishing they shelled out a premium to have their cars insured against “acts of God”, to wondering how to get their stranded vehicles towed, to figuring out how to get rid of that swampy smell. A tricky question: should you clean your car right away or leave it as it is until the insurance adjusters arrive? Most resources differ on this point. To be sure, call your insurance company to find out what they recommend, and document the damage to your car thoroughly before doing anything.

Read through the following articles as needed:

Motoring Hotlines on - If your car is still perched on a hill somewhere, these numbers might help. You might even be able to get free towing.

Motorists cope with Acts of God on - Hold your breath as they estimate the damage. If this article leaves you depressed at the thought of your exclusions in your insurance coverage, maybe reading this article will put a smile on your face. Maybe.


What to do with flood damaged vehicles on ABS-CBN News - Tips from officials of motor industry organizations.

Tips on how to salvage your flooded car by the Unlawyer - A quick and easy-to-read summary distilling the more technical information from the Popular Mechanics website.


Saving submerged gadgets and appliances

While not as critical (or as expensive to replace and repair) as your home and car, you’re sure to want to salvage as many of your appliances and electronic equipment as possible. The first step is determining which of your things are still repairable and which must be replaced. Here, resources that list factors to consider when evaluating what to save and some tips and tricks for getting your gadgets back in gear.

Flood-damaged furniture and appliances - Deciding what to salvage and tips on reconditioning
on the National AG Safety Database - Start with the big stuff and see what you can do with your refrigerators, washing machines, and furniture.


How to salvage flood-damaged appliances on the NC State University website - What factors to take into consideration when deciding what to toss and what to salvage. The main disaster readiness factsheet is very useful, too.

How to revive water-damaged gadgets on - Ideas for getting your gadgets back in gear, using tricks ranging from rice to alcohol.

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