New York City provides information about how to clean a home after a flood or sewage overflow.

It is important to thoroughly clean and disinfect inside your home after a flood or sewage overflow. Flood water may contain sewage water and germs. Direct exposure may infect your eyes, skin, stomach or intestines.

These basic clean-up guidelines and health precautions are recommended:

  • Do not eat or drink anything exposed to flood or sewer water.
  • Wear rubber boots, gloves and protective goggles during cleanup.
  • Discard any clothing or household items that can't be thoroughly cleaned, disinfected and dried.
  • Keep children, pets and people with compromised immune systems out of contaminated areas until cleanup is complete.
  • Seek professional cleaning help for homes with extensive flood damage.

Online

Learn more about flooding and sewer backup clean-up.

Learn more about sewer backups.

By Phone

Call 311 for assistance.

  • Keep children and pets out until cleanup has been completed.
  • Discard any food items, including packaged food, that were in contact with sewage water.
  • Do not run electrical equipment or appliances near standing water.
  • Avoid direct contact with flood water, sewage or contaminated items.
  • Wear waterproof gloves, rubber boots and googles during cleanup.
  • Wash your hands, body, boots and clothing with soap and hot water after cleanup.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you become injured or ill.

  • Discard contaminated items that cannot be thoroughly cleaned, disinfected and dried (this might include mattresses, carpeting, carpet padding, rugs, upholstered furniture, cosmetics, stuffed animals, baby toys, pillows, foam-rubber items, books, wall coverings and most paper products).
  • Discard any food items, including packaged food, that were in contact with sewage water.
  • Rugs or carpeting with small spills or minor damage may be cleaned in place using detergents and disinfectants.
  • Disinfect non-carpeted floors by wiping surface with a bleach solution. Use one cup of household bleach in a two-gallon bucket of hot water. Non-bleach sanitizers can also be used.
  • Allow surfaces to dry thoroughly to avoid mold growth. Use dehumidifiers, fans and air conditioners to aid drying and reduce odors.
  • Extensive flooding damage should be cleaned by a professional.

  • Clean or dry-clean all contaminated clothing, bedding, towels and drapes.
  • Launder contaminated clothes and linens in hot water, detergent and bleach.
  • Wash contaminated laundry separately from non-contaminated items.
  • Dry thoroughly.
  • Leather shoes, boots or gloves may be difficult to disinfect. If they are heavily contaminated, discard them.
  • Waterproof boots and gloves can be disinfected with bleach solution, rinsed and allowed to dry after use.

  • Discard items that cannot be cleaned and dried within 24-48 hours
  • Discard contaminated rug and carpet padding
  • Dry all cleaned areas and items quickly and thoroughly
  • Use a dehumidifier, fans and air conditioners to air out rooms and reduce odors
  • Extensive flooding damage may require cleanup and restoration by professionals