A flood is destruction personified — wrecking houses, building, streets, and more. From your personal belongings to the structure of your property, floods create havoc and destroy everything in their path.

What’s more, flood waters contains various pollutants and contaminants that can ruin a high dollar item in minutes, including drywall, carpeting, furniture, and appliances. More severe storms bring more damage and can destroy expensive systems like air conditioners, furnaces, ductwork, roofing, foundations and more.

As a general rule, insurers consider any part of a home or other structure that has been submerged under flood waters for any period of time to be a total loss. Beyond that, anything that has been underwater and not immediately dried off for 24 to 48 hours is likely home to growing mold.

This includes everything from walls, floors, carpets, furniture, clothing, books and most everything else in the home, as well as spaces behind walls and under floorboards.

Two things to know about mold: Exposure to it can cause severe symptoms, including eye and skin irritating, asthma attacks and more, depending on how susceptible a person is to it. And, important to remember when cleaning up after a flood, it is generally not covered by standard homeowners insurance policies unless it is caused by a specific event (usually water entering the home through a hole in the roof, or mold caused by a broken water pipe).

Flood insurance is an add-on rider to your homeowner’s insurance.

Cleaning up after a flood is a long process that requires a whole lot of time and effort. But don’t panic. Below is a comprehensive list of techniques that you can use when cleaning and sanitizing flooded parts of your house.

Start with insurance

The first step for any flooded home should be a call to your insurance agent to survey the damage. Your insurance representative will help you gauge the expenses and inform you about your coverage.

Create a record

Take photos, or make videos as an evidence to show to your insurance adjuster. You can also compile a list of damages. It will help you claim your damages and file an application for disaster assistance and a tax deduction.

Deal with mud and debris

As mentioned earlier, flood waters contain a lot more than just water. That’s why it’s so important to shovel out as much leftover mud as possible, while also pumping out any remaining water.

Remove everything

Take all your beddings, furniture, rugs, and clothing outside the house. If they were even touched by flood waters, they are a total loss. Mattresses, upholstered furniture, wooden furniture, books, etc. From there, use a dehumidifier or fan to dry out your space. Open your windows to increase ventilation, and turn on fans to circulate air.

Disinfect surfaces

To disinfect surfaces, scrub with a heavy-duty cleaner and hot water. Add ¼-chlorine bleach in it and make a solution to kill all the germs and bacteria that may have come with the muddy water.

Clean flooring

If you have wooden flooring, make sure you dry them slowly to avoid splitting and cracking. Remove or replace hardwood flooring to avert buckling. Discard your carpets and rugs for health safety reasons.

Cleaning up after a flood is a hectic process that requires your vigilance and effort. It may require your double effort if your property suffers from deterioration and cracks, clogged downspouts, holes and damaged sewage system.

However, by following the above-mentioned techniques, you can smartly deal with the after-effects of the disaster.