Flooding – Practical Cleanup Tips

Choice of Cleaning Chemicals and Practical Tips

Many places are affected by flooding. Photo by Andy Falconer on Unsplash

With many parts of the country currently under water – and maybe more to come – businesses will soon turn attention to their clean-up. There will be many things to deal with after a flood and cleaning should definitely be one of them. Done properly it can help get the business back up and running quickly, effectively and safely.

This is especially important for businesses that prepare and serve food. Water in flooded areas can contain a wide variety of pathogenic organisms from sewage and other materials that could constitute a significant health risk. Water may not be available or will need boiling before use. The Environmental Agency and its local departments issue advice on dealing with flood damage and cleaning up after. Everyone should avoid direct contact with floodwater and associated debris wherever possible.

The following aims to provide some practical advice.

1: Hand Cleaning

hand hygiene is always important but especially after a flood.

Good cleansing of the skin is very important in reducing the risks associated with handling contaminated water/materials. Skin cleansing can be augmented by the use of an alcohol-based hand sanitiser such as Soft Care Med to reduce any hazards associated with pathogenic organisms. This is especially important when the quality of the water used for cleaning the hands is not of drinking quality.

2: Kitchen Surface Sanitising

If kitchen areas have suffered flood water damage it is important to thoroughly clean and sanitise. This should be done for all areas that have come into contact with the flood water by either immersion or by being splashed – if in doubt sanitise all areas. These areas should be thoroughly cleaned using a sanitiser (as outlined below) and then disinfected with another use of the sanitiser.

Clean kitchen surfaces promote food safety.

Floodwater can contain pathogenic organisms that usual kitchen sanitisers may not be effective against. Suitable sanitisers for this purpose contain chlorine (such as Suma Sol D4.8) or hydrogen peroxide (such as Oxivir Plus) as their active ingredient.

Businesses that have been advised to boil water before drinking should also use boiled water for preparing sanitiser solutions and for rinsing.

3: Dishwashing Machines

Dishwashers can clean items soiled during a flood.

If tap water has to be boiled then use the dishwashing machine on its longest, slowest cycle. This will enable the heat to provide disinfection. Check that all wash and rinse jets are clear before washing and the running temperatures should be 55°-65°C for wash 80°-90°C for the final rinse.

4: General Surface Sanitising

Sanitise any surface that could come into contact with food after a flood.

Remove and dispose of all physical debris and damaged items. Then clean these areas thoroughly using a sanitiser, as mentioned. Disinfect with repeat use of the sanitiser.

Floodwater can contain pathogenic organisms that commonly-used sanitisers may not be effective against. Suitable sanitisers for this purpose are those containing a chlorine- or hydrogen peroxide-based bleaching system such as Titan Sanitiser Powder or Titan Chlor plus tablets. For areas that are sensitive to chlorine such as fabric or furniture, we recommend Oxivir Plus.

Businesses that have been advised to boil water before drinking should also use boiled water for preparing sanitiser solutions and for rinsing.

Dry out areas as soon as possible after they have been cleaned and sanitised. This is because damp conditions are favourable for mould and fungal growth which can damage surfaces. Also, their fungal spores can cause health problems.

The same sanitisers used for general cleaning, as outlined above, should be used to remove any mould that is found. An ideal alternative is Sani Mould Out which is specially formulated to remove mould and return surfaces to their sparkling best.

Product Selection Chart

ProductUseActive Based On
Titan Sanitiser Powder All-Surface SanitiserChlorine
Titan Chlor Plus tablets All-Surface SanitiserChlorine
Suma Sol D4.8 Sanitiser for all Kitchen Hard SurfacesChlorine
Oxivir Plus Spray Sanitiser for all Soft Surfaces and FurnishingsOxygen
Soft Care Med/Des  E Hand Disinfectant GelAlcohol
Sani Mould OutMould Remover Chlorine
Floods can cause severe disruption to businesses.

Cleaning up after a flood can be a daunting task. However, a bit of planning and choosing the right products can make the work a bit easier and quicker.

You can download the advice in this post as a ready reference using the link below.

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