Your Kitchen After A Flood: What To Keep, Clean, Repair Or Throw Away

21 September 2015
 Categories: , Articles

If you've recently survived a flood, the first step to begin your life over again is to salvage what you can while cleaning up your home. In many cases, the most financially devastating damage occurs in the kitchen, because often times, it houses the most expensive items found throughout the home. If you're preparing to clean up your kitchen after a flood, here are some tips to help you salvage what you can while staying safe:

Dealing With Your Flood Damaged Appliances

Whether your appliances are a few years older or you've recently invested in a stainless steel dishwasher, fridge and stove, it can be very expensive to replace these three units. Luckily, with the help of an appliance repair technician, it is potentially possible to salvage your appliances.

The repair technician will help determine if any parts of your refrigerator, stove or dishwasher need replacement, such as the motor. If the motor can be replaced, the technician will mostly likely check to see if any wiring or other components need to be replaced or repaired, as well.

Once your appliances are in working order, and before you begin thoroughly cleaning each of them, apply a rust inhibiting agent to any metal components. Rust inhibiting agents can be found at your local hardware store and will prevent any damage to metal components that were submerged during the flood.

Cleaning your appliances should be your next step. The Water Quality and Health Council urges homeowners to begin this process by first protecting themselves. Slip on a pair of rubber gloves and wear a long sleeved shirt and long pants to prevent any exposure to bleach.

Next, prepare a solution of one-quarter cup of chlorine bleach per one gallon of warm water. Use this mixture and some rags and plastic scrub brushes to clean every square inch of your appliances – inside and out. For example, remove all of the shelving, ice trays and drawers from your freezer. Clean each of these with the bleach solution and allow them to air dry completely.

Cleaning Your Pots, Pans, Dishes and Other Utensils

If you're like many Americans, you've spent a small fortune on pots, pans, utensils and all the other odds-and-ends that make up a kitchen.

Unfortunately, according to the North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension, any utensils or other housewares that are made from porous materials should be discarded. For example, toss out your wooden cutting board, plastic spatulas and glass bowls.

The other housewares – such as your metal pots and pans – can be saved. Because these items aren't porous, cleaning them with a bleach solution isn't necessary. Instead, submerge them in soapy water and clean them thoroughly with a plastic scrub brush to eliminate any bacteria found in the flood water.

Taking Care of Any Food

If your cupboards and refrigerator were stocked, you might want to salvage as much as you can to save money. Unfortunately, for the safety's sake, it's important to know what can be saved – and what should be tossed.

In addition to tossing any food in your kitchen that was submerged in the flood waters, throw away any food that is in your pantry or cupboards, even if it wasn't damaged. Remember, there are some very nasty germs floating in the flood water, so it's better to be safe and not consume any food in the pantry or cupboards.

When it comes to food in the refrigerator, throw out anything that is warm or has thawed completely. Foods that were safely enclosed in the fridge or freezer that are still cool or frozen are okay to keep.

Surviving the flood was one thing, but cleaning up the aftermath can be downright scary. However, with a little elbow grease – and the assistance of your trusted refrigerator repair technician – it's possible to quickly get your old kitchen back.