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Clean-up of Flood Damaged Dwellings - September 23, 2003



James City County Emergency Operations Center

  • Jody Puckett, EOC PIO
  • Tal Luton, EOC PIO


  • (757) 564-2154 PIO Desk
  • (757) 566-4315 Citizen Inquiry Line

Clean-up of Flood Damaged Dwellings

All flooded buildings and dwellings should be ventilated with fans, if available, for a minimum of 30 minutes before entering.


The interiors of flood-damaged dwellings are potentially hazardous. Items in these dwellings should be considered potentially contaminated with bacteria, viruses, molds and chemicals from the floodwaters. Molds are the most persistent and may cause health problems to people sensitive to them. Wheezing, nasal congestion, eye irritation and shortness of breath are symptoms seen in those who are sensitive. Infants and the elderly should avoid areas where clean up is being done.


Recommended Personal Protection

  • Masks rated N-95 (check hardware stores and home centers)
  • Waterproof gloves and boots
  • Long-sleeve shirt and pants
  • Eye protection/goggles and head cover


Dispose of the following, if water damaged:

  • Books, newspapers, boxes
  • Mattresses, boxsprings, pillows
  • Ceiling, floor and wall coverings
  • Wet insulation
  • Wooden kitchen utensils and cutting boards
Consider disposing the following:
  • Water soaked upholstered furniture
  • Plywood or particleboard furniture
  • Water-damaged window casings and doors


Laundering may clean the following washable items:

  • Clothing
  • Blankets
  • Bed sheets
  • Towels
  • Curtains


Items to be salvaged, such as solid wood furniture, appliance, etc. AND all surfaces, such as ceilings, walls, floors, countertops and shelves should be disinfected using the following procedure:

  • Soak item for 15 minutes with a disinfecting solution of 1-cup chlorine bleach to 1-gallon clean water. Rinse.
  • Clean item with detergent and water. Rinse.


If mold is not visible on item, use disinfecting solution of 1-cup chlorine bleach to 5 gallons of clean water.

Non-wooden kitchen utensils should be washed, rinsed with water, dipped in disinfecting solution, rinsed in clean water and then air-dried.


Contact Information:

Peninsula Health District – Williamsburg Area - 253-4813
Newport News, Lower York and Poquoson - 594-7340


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