How To Safely Clean Up After Drains Back Up Into Your Home

Posted on: 22 March 2016

When a drain clogs, the nasty, dirty water and other unspeakable things that flow down the drains could begin to spill out of your bathtub drain, overflow from the toilets, spew from the floor drains in your basement and even go so far as to back up into your kitchen sink. When this happens, you will have a mighty mess to clean up. If not done properly, you could leave bacteria, pathogens and moisture behind that could pose a health risk to your family. Here, you will learn how to clean up after the dirty water overflows into your home.

Electrical Precautions

Depending on the amount of water that has backed up into your home, electrical safety may be a concern. In some serious cases, the electricity must be turned off before the clean-up process can begin. If any appliances or fixtures are sitting in water, turn off the power to the entire house by flipping the main breaker switch on the pole outside your home.

Kids and Pets

Kids and pets love to splash around in puddles. Do your best to keep your kids and pets out of the potentially contaminated water. Allowing your pets to drink the water or the kids to play in it could expose them to dangerous bacterium. Keep the area blocked off or send the pets and kids to a family member's or friend's house until you have the mess all cleaned up.

Personal Safety

Before you begin sopping up the mess, it is important that you take safety precautions. Rubber boots, gloves, face masks and safety glasses should be worn while working to clean this up. You don't want to get the water in your eyes or any open cuts and you don't want to breathe in what could potentially be toxic.


Keep all of the doors and windows open as you work. Turn on a few fans to pull fresh air into the space and another to pull the contaminated air out. It is possible that methane and hydrogen sulfide are present in the air and could combust if not released from the area quickly.

Remove Contaminated Contents

Any carpeting, furniture, books, curtains, stuffed animals and anything else that cannot be thoroughly cleaned with bleach should be discarded. Remove them from the home entirely, set them out for pickup and contact your local waste disposal company to learn about having the items removed safely.


After the rooms have been cleared, it is time to decontaminate the area. Create a mixture of equal parts water and bleach and thoroughly wipe down every surface in the room. Let the area dry and then return to begin rebuilding the space.

If you don't have the time, energy or will to get through this clean-up process yourself, you can hire someone to do it for you.

After the mess has been cleaned up, have drain cleaning performed to prevent the issue from arising anytime in the near future.