How to Clean Up After a Sewage Backup

How to Clean Up After a Sewage Backup

Sewage backups can be a major problem for homeowners, especially if it is severe enough to flood your home. Considering that many illness causing bacteria are found in sewer lines, it's very important to properly clean up the affected area as soon as possible. At Mr. Rooter Plumbing, we offer quality commercial and residential plumbing services for our metro Atlanta, Georgia area customers. We take great pride in helping our clients achieve a safe and efficient plumbing system, and we want you to enjoy the same kind of results in your home. Have you just discovered a large sewage backup or burst sewer line in your house? Try not to panic. Here are some tips on how you can safely clean up the mess.

Safety First

The first step is to ensure the safety of yourself and loved ones. It may be a good idea for your family to leave while the cleanup process is taking place. Keep in mind that anytime an excessive amount of water is introduced to the home, electrocution is possible. Even a small backup could find its way to wiring or circuits, so be sure to contact the utility company right away before touching anything. The gas and electricity should be completely shut off before work begins, otherwise you risk personal injury or even death. If you have a gas line, take extra precautions to avoid smoking or using lighters and matches. You will also need safety equipment like gloves and breathing masks to avoid touching or inhaling any hazardous waste. Also, keep hands away from your eyes, mouth and nose while working.

Floors and Walls

Once you're sure it's safe to enter the premises, you will need to get rid of the water and moisture. Open the windows to get air flowing through all rooms in the home. Depending on the severity of the flooding, you may need various equipment to remove all the water including a pump or wet/dry vac. You'll also probably need to connect these electrical tools to an outdoor portable generator, since you don't have safe access to the electrical system in the home. If using a generator, be sure it stays outside, otherwise you could expose yourself and others to noxious fumes. When all the moisture has been removed, you can begin the sanitizing process. Carpets will likely need to be shampooed or possibly replaced. Hard flooring, walls, doors, cabinets and other items need to be checked for water damage. If they are still intact, you can wash them with sanitizing solution. You can purchase readymade sanitizing wash or make your own by mixing 8 tablespoons of bleach with 1 gallon of water.

Furniture, Clothes, Toys and Other Household Items

Furniture, clothing, children's toys, and other exposed household items and accessories that came in contact probably need to be discarded. If some items are salvageable, and you wish to keep them, place them in the yard and dry them in the sun, and fully sanitize before bringing them back inside.


Food that is kept in the freezer should stay good for one to two days without electricity. If your fridge is off for a longer period of time, then you'll need to toss everything out. Pantry foods that are stored in cardboard boxes or plastic bags will also need to be thrown away if the sewage backup flooded into your kitchen area. Some canned foods might be kept if they are submerged in bleach water for a minimum of 15 minutes. If you're uncertain if any food has been exposed to sewage go ahead and throw it out, it simply isn't worth the risk. Eating contaminated food could lead to a variety of illnesses that can be fatal.

Need Help with Severe Backups or Sewer Line Issues? Call Mr. Rooter Plumbing

If you've had a major sewage backup, flood or severe leak, then it's important to contact a licensed plumber as soon as possible. The certified and insured plumbers at Mr. Rooter of Atlanta offer emergency clog removal and pipe repairs so you can get your system back in working order quickly.

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