Photo (cc) by The Master Shake Signal
The American Cleaning Institute, a cleaning product trade group, has advice for those hit by Sandy…
From torrential downpours to broken pipes to leaky roofs, when water invades your home, the damage can be swift and brutal. Mold growth and food contamination are two major concerns. Your very first step should be to pick up the phone and call your insurance agent and report the water damage. Best-case scenario is to do this within 24 hours. Your insurance broker should be able to recommend a contractor with experience in repairs and mold removal. Your house and furnishings are less likely to grow mold if they are dried within 48 hours, so prompt attention is imperative.
Severe water damage definitely requires the help of outside specialists. And some difficult decisions may have to be made as to which items can be salvaged and cleaned and which ones will need to be discarded. Floodwater may carry silt, raw sewage, oil or chemical wastes that can cause a whole range of bacterial, viral and/or parasitic diseases. Check with local authorities to determine how to dispose of household items that have been contaminated by sewage or that have been wet for an extended period of time. Some localities may have regulations and specific procedures for bagging, tagging and disposing of contaminated items. Consider all water unsafe until you have checked with your local health department. This includes water used for drinking, cooking and cleaning.
They have more advice on food, laundry, and cleaning surfaces at the link.