Imagine this: you walk into your bathroom to find black water (sewage or any water contaminated with fecal matter) gushing from your toilet, turning your once clean bathroom into a mess. It’s a scene that would make anyone annoyed.
Cleaning up a toilet overflow should be done as soon as possible to prevent further damage and potential health risks.
Here are 7 steps you can do to clean up this nasty situation.
1. Safety First: Turn off Electrical Power
Safety should always be your top priority. Before you jump into action, let’s talk safety. If your bathroom is flooded, the first thing you need to do is turn off the electrical power instead of starting to mop up the mess immediately.
Why? Well, because water conducts electricity. You don’t want to risk getting an electric shock while wading through the water.
Also, remember to gear up appropriately before you start the cleanup. Wear a mask to protect yourself from inhaling any harmful gases or particles that might be present in the sewage-filled room. Put on a pair of sturdy rubber gloves before touching any sewage-infected materials.
2. Stop the Water: Turn Off the Water Supply
With your safety gear on, it’s time to stop the water from flowing. Find the water valve, usually hiding behind the toilet, and give it a good clockwise turn. This will cut off the water supply to the toilet, putting a stop to the overflow.
3. Mop Up the Mess: Clean Up the Water
Now that the water’s stopped, it’s time to clean up. Grab a mop or some towels and start soaking up the water. Then use a mop to drive the water to the sewer inlet in the bathroom to make it flow fast.
Be thorough and make sure you cover the entire area. These two steps are super important to reduce the water quickly and prevent water from seeping into your floor, which could cause some serious damage and even lead to mold growth.
4. Clear the Blockage: Unclog the Toilet with an Auger or Plunger
Most of the time, toilet overflows are caused by clogs. Toilets are made to flush waste and toilet paper, but tossing items like diapers, paper towels, or even those wipes that claim to be ‘flushable, can make it blocked. Use a plunger or a toilet auger to clear the clog and get the water flowing again.
5. Clean and Sanitize: Clean and Disinfect
Once the water’s gone and the clog’s cleared, it’s time to clean and disinfect. Sanitation is a must because toilet water can be full of harmful bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella, which pose serious health risks.
If you’ve got young kids or elderly parents at home, it’s best to keep them away until everything’s clean and safe as they’re susceptible to these infections. Use cleaning products with bleach or antibacterial properties to disinfect all the surfaces that came into contact with the toilet water.
For greywater toilet overflows, a mix of bleach and hot water works well for disinfection. Follow this up with an antimicrobial solution for a thorough clean. And remember to dispose of all the cleaning materials right away to prevent any further contamination.
6. Dry it Out: Dry the Bathroom
After everything’s clean and disinfected, it’s time to dry out the bathroom. Use fans, dehumidifiers, or heaters to speed up the drying process. This step is key to prevent mold growth and further water damage.
7. Call a Professional Plumber
There are several conditions under which you should consider calling a professional plumber when dealing with an overflowed toilet:
- Persistent Clogging: If the toilet continues to overflow even after you’ve tried unclogging it with a plunger or auger, there might be a more serious issue at hand. A professional plumber can diagnose and fix deeper clogs in the plumbing system.
- Lots of Black Water Overflow: If the overflow involves a lot of black water , it’s best to call a professional. This type of water can contain harmful bacteria and pathogens, and cleaning it up requires special equipment and expertise.
- Extensive Water Damage: If the overflow has caused extensive water damage to your bathroom, such as soaked carpets, warped flooring, or water seeping into the walls or subfloors.
- Recurring Overflows: If your toilet overflows again after cleaning up, it could indicate a larger issue with your plumbing system. A professional plumber can inspect the system and identify the root cause of the problem.
- Unknown Cause: If you’re unsure why the toilet overflowed in the first place, it’s a good idea to call a plumber. They can identify the cause and provide solutions to prevent future overflows.
Dealing with toilet overflows can be messy and potentially hazardous. With these steps, hope you can ensure a safe and effective cleanup.
However, when in doubt, it’s always safer and more effective to call in the professionals.