If your home was hit by floodwaters, the aftermath can be incredibly taxing. Cleaning up can take weeks or months, and then there is the rebuilding process. In most cases, you'll need to stay somewhere else, like a friend's house or a hotel, while you restore your home to a habitable condition. During that cleanup process, there are a few guidelines you should adhere to for success and safety.
Do: Get the "all-clear" from the electrical company first.
If there are any electrical appliances immersed in water in your basement, or if the water is up to the level of the outlets, the standing water could be electrified, which means you'd be shocked if you were to walk through it or even touch it. So, before you venture into standing water, call your electrical company and have them turn off service to your home.
Don't: Enter water without adequate protection.
Flood waters are often contaminated by sewage, animal feces, and other bacteria-laden materials. So, never venture into standing water without protection like tall rubber boots, gloves, and goggles. If you do expose some of your skin to the flood water, wash immediately with soap and water.
Do: Remove porous materials, rather than trying to dry them out.
It can take months for carpet, drywall, and other porous materials to dry out, especially when there has been standing water in a home. During this time, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to keep mold growth under control. So, your best solution is usually to remove any moist, porous materials and start over with new carpeting, drywall, and the like. Look on the bright side—this is your chance to remodel!
Don't: Re-paint and redecorate immediately.
After you have removed all of the water and moist materials from the home, you can have power restored to the home. Plug in a few potable dehumidifiers (if you don't have a whole-home dehumidifier) and let the home sit for a week. This will remove any lingering moisture from the air. Only after this waiting period is it safe to re-paint the walls and install new carpeting. If you do this too soon and there's still moisture in the air, your new materials will just grow mold.
Restoring a home after a flood is a major endeavor. In most cases, you're best off hiring flood restoration professionals to tackle some or all of this work for you.