Hurricane Irma | After the Storm Cleanup
- Author Jolie Baetzel
- Published October 15, 2017
- Word count 1,342
The Storm That Would be Biblical
Thankfully the hype did not live up to the reality of Hurricane Irma’s wrath and fury, for most. This hurricane defied the projection, characteristics and historical anomalies of all hurricanes on record. Nonetheless, for those affected, cleaning up after the storm is not an easy task by any stretch.
With apologies to those who suffered unspeakable losses after Hurricane Irma, most Floridians have homes and businesses that are either unscathed or salvageable. However, the unforgiving nature of flooding, humidity, heat, water damage and wind without the benefit of electricity for days or weeks is a complicated proposition.
There may not be an easy fix or magic bullet to address these layers of problematic issues, but by taking one step at a time, putting one foot in front of the other, day by day, you will get there.
After the Hurricane Cleaning Protocols
Cleaning up and organizing your life after a hurricane is difficult at best.
Following a hurricane in Florida, there are hazards, health concerns, and other issues that go beyond normal cleaning protocols. Specialized cleaning products, tools, and techniques are required. Protective gear and safety measures not required in regular cleaning must become a part of a whole new cleaning ball game.
Whether you operate a professional cleaning company or are personally handling the cleanup of your home or business, all bets are off when it comes to routine cleaning. Specific, highly specialized practices and products will make this job much easier. Tough circumstances within the harshest of environments require focus and attention to detail.
Wear Protective Gear – the Why
Wear gloves. To ensure an extra layer of safety it is advisable to wear latex gloves with tougher skinned work gloves over them. Upon removal, always wash your hands with sanitizing soap and water, not bar soap. In wet conditions, wear rubber or insulated footwear. Do not enter a flooded space until the power to the building has been turned off.
The Environmental Protection Agency recommends wearing protective equipment in post-flood hurricane conditions, including respirators and goggles in addition to gloves. Protective gear should be suited to the job.
In addition to natural rubber, neoprene, polyurethane or PVC gloves for use with disinfectants and sanitizers, wear heavy-duty work gloves when handling debris, construction materials, and damaged sheet rock. Do not attempt to save damaged, waterlogged sheet rock or insulation, dispose of it.
And to keep life interesting, after a hurricane in Florida, snakes, alligators and other wildlife can be in the water around you when tackling a hurricane waterlogged area. Use extreme caution when working in flooded areas.
Mold Grows in a Matter of Days
After a hurricane or similar event, mold grows in 2 – 3 days. Florida humidity, heat, and the lack of circulating clean air is the perfect Petrie dish environment for mold spores to grow. As the mold spores grow they begin fighting each other creating a more toxic blend than common, but deadly black mold. Clean up and dry your home as quickly as you can after the hurricane, storm or flood.
This idea may be contrary to instructions from insurance companies. But cleaning should be your primary concern. Take pictures and videos for your records and begin the cleaning process immediately.
Air – Let the House Breathe a Little
Air out your house, open every door and window. The use of fans to dry wet areas is fine, but utilizing a wet/dry vac and dehumidifier is preferred if at all possible.
Objects that cannot be cleaned and dried quickly must be thrown away. Remove and discard drywall and insulation that has been contaminated with sewage or flood water. Thoroughly clean surfaces with sanitizer and disinfectant. Be particular. Before applying disinfectant, all soil must be removed and dried. Follow instructions on cleaning, sanitizing & disinfectant products to the T.
Compromised cleaning environments are especially prone to the accelerated presence of bacteria and heightened cross-contamination opportunities. Follow all instructions and requirements on product labels religiously.
Hurricane Flood Water is Pretty Darn Nasty
Flood water can contain dangerous bacteria from overflowing sewage, agricultural and industrial waste. Again, wear gloves. Ideally, it is better to wait for the water to recede if at all possible. After standing water has drained or has been removed, dampness will persist, and along with moisture comes mold, mildew, and odor.
When the Water Recedes
Once the water is gone, a dehumidifier will do wonders. A portable air-conditioning unit will also help reduce humidity and moisture levels and thus diminish offensive odor levels. Use odor eliminating carpet and upholstery cleaners to remove damp, mildewy smells from your floors and fabrics as well. Odorcide, as well as additional products and cleaning alternatives referred to later in this article, is an exceptional product preferred by professionals.
Mold is Deadly – Get Rid of It ASAP
Remove mold from hard surfaces with products that are up for the task. Products that are engineered and designed for this purpose exclusively are worth their weight in gold. Ask any cleaning professional for the lowdown. Spartan RJ8 Mildew Stain Remover is a top-notch product highly recommended by cleaning professionals.
In the wake of Hurricane Irma, home remedies abound using bleach, vinegar, and baking soda. If you can find your way to obtaining professional cleaning products it is advisable that you do so. Remember, in a disaster or post-hurricane cleanup environment, it is highly advisable to wear protective gloves. This is particularly important if you suffer from respiratory issues or have a weakened immune system. Goggles and as applicable, respirators are also recommended.
Tough Jobs Require Tough Products
Cleaning up after a hurricane, flood or similar event is not for the meek and mild. Tough times call for tough measures and proven products that get the job done. Here are some basic items you will need in addition to cleaning product suggestions to follow :
Garbage cans & liners
Paper products/paper towels/rags
The presence of mold, mildew and contaminated flood water are not to be taken lightly. Thus, a dash of bleach, baking soda and vinegar will not get the job done. Consider using products that cleaning professionals prefer.
Best Cleaning Products Ever
Odorcide – a safe, effective deodorizing product. A complex blend of biodegradable ingredients that work through several actions, and the complete elimination of odor.
Spartan Consume – a revolutionary quaternary-based disinfectant concentrate formulated to kill pathogenic & odor causing bacteria.
Odo Ban Odor Eliminator – eliminates unpleasant odors on washable surfaces including upholstery, carpets, and floors. Cleans, disinfects, sanitizes and deodorizes all hard, nonporous surfaces and controls and inhibits the growth of mold and mildew.
Spartan Diffense RTU Disinfectant – an EPA-registered, broad spectrum, cleaner disinfectant proven to kill Clostridium difficile spores. Effective against a comprehensive range of harmful bacteria and viruses.
Clorox® Broad Spectrum Quaternary Disinfectant Cleaner – EPA registered to kill 90 different microorganisms, including more infection-causing germs than other leading quaternary sprays.
Spartan Sani-T-10 – formulated as a disinfectant, sanitizer, algaecide, & deodorizer. Registered with the EPA as a bactericide, fungicide, and virucide against pathogenic bacteria.
Spartan hdqC 2 – a neutral pH, quaternary disinfectant cleaner formulated to kill a broad spectrum of microorganisms on hard, nonporous surfaces. Deodorizes hard-to-keep-fresh-smelling areas and areas prone to odors caused by microorganisms.
Spartan RJ8 Mildew Stain Remover – has a powerful whiting action and enhanced cleaning ability, cleans and deodorizes hard surfaces. Instantly whitens and removes mold and mildew stains. Biodegradable and phosphate free.
Contact Us for Expert Advice and Consultation
In conclusion, whatever you may need to clean up after a hurricane, flood or storm, we are likely to carry it. Please be safe as you tackle the extraordinary task of getting your world back to clean, sparkling and beautiful. Give us a call at 800.983.8280 to talk to any of our expert team members who are extremely well versed and knowledgeable in all things "clean".
Sani-Chem Cleaning Supplies is run by people – not boards, stockholders or algorithms. Real people, with real experience and knowledge.
Finding better ways to clean your world & serving the community since 1976.
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