Flood Clean Up Instructions

Before doing anything…Does the outside inspection show the structure is safe?
Check for structural damage to see if it is safe to enter the building. Watch for electrical shorts and live wires. Electrical safety is most important in floods. Make sure that electrical service is DISCONNECTED and CANNOT be turned on before entering any structure. Turn off any outside gas lines at the tank or meter, and let the building air out for several minutes to remove gas fumes.

Steps Towards Clean Up

If you have a question or problem with your insurance carrier, contact the Missouri Department of Insurance: 1-800-726-7390.

Information & Referrals

Electrical Systems

Food & Water Sanitation

Until your local water utility or county health department declares your water source safe, purify all water, not only for drinking and cooking, but also for washing any part of the body.
To sterilize water, use one of these methods:


Floor Coverings

Carpets and Rugs


Layers of submerged plywood subfloors may separate. Sections that separate must be replaced to keep floor covering from buckling. When floor coverings are removed, allow subflooring to dry thoroughly (it may take several months). Check for warping before installing new flooring.

Wood floors

Tile and sheet-vinyl floors


Cleaning and Disinfecting

Wash exposed skin parts (hands, feet, etc.) frequently in purified water. Wear rubber gloves for extra protection against contamination. As flood waters recede, use a disinfectant to clean walls and woodwork from top to bottom. A 3-gallon garden sprayer works well. One cup of household chlorine bleach per gallon of water can be used as a disinfectant. Scrub with a brush to help remove mud and silt. Rinse with clean water. Dry thoroughly. If utilities are on, use heater, fan or air conditioner to speed drying.

Household Appliances

Submerged appliances must be cleaned and dried before starting. With electricity or fuel turned off, unplug and open as much as possible to rinse or wipe clean and let dry. Tilt to drain and aid quick drying. Three days to a week is necessary for drying. Appliance repair person should check before reconnecting. Most motorized appliances can be saved.

Flood-Damaged Walls

Mildew Prevention

Removing Mildew From Household Articles


Source: University of Missouri Extension, Disaster Resources Handbook, 2004