After A House Flood: What To Keep And What To Toss

What To Keep And What To Toss
  • Author: Fazal Umer
  • Posted On: February 7, 2023
  • Updated On: July 11, 2023

Floods are among the most stressful events that a homeowner can experience. They destroy the property and personal items, leaving a homeowner with a huge loss. Depending on the type of floodwater in your home, the situation might get even more challenging since you must make some quick decisions to minimize the contamination rate in your home.

For example, you must determine items to clean and keep or discard. Mattresses and upholstered furniture are among the things you should discard since they can encourage mold growth and pose a health hazard.

Also, depending on the type of floodwater, you might be unable to save your carpet. However, with the help of a professional cleaner, the carpet might be salvageable. Read this article to learn factors that determine whether or not your flooded carpet can be saved.

Before determining what to toss and keep, it’s vital to understand the type of floodwater you’re dealing with.

Types Of Floodwater

There are different types of floodwater. Understanding the difference is handy when determining items to keep and toss following a flood. If you’re like many homeowners who can’t differentiate between clean, gray, and black water, here’s the difference:

Clean Water

Clean water flooding occurs when your home experiences leaks and breakage in the water supply line. Mostly, clean water flooding happens when the piping in a home ages or bursts due to freezing. Fortunately, clean water flooding doesn’t pose a health hazard since the water isn’t contaminated. During clean water flooding, you can salvage most of your items so long as they aren’t excessively waterlogged.

Gray Water

Unlike clean water, gray water flooding has some contaminants that can pose a health risk. Common causes of gray water flooding are overflowing sinks, washing machines, and urinals. Suppose your home experiences gray water flooding. In that case, you must discard some items.

Black Water

The level of contamination in black water is higher than in gray water. Causes of dark water flooding include groundwater flooding, sewage backups, and toilet overflows. Since dark water is highly contaminated, you should throw away most of your items if your home experiences this flooding.

home interior, bedroom with flooded toys

home interior, bedroom with flooded toys. open window, 3d render. nobody around. concept of home problem and disaster.

Things To Toss After A House Flood

There are things you must discard after a house flood. For example, you should toss everything severely damaged and waterlogged. Regardless of the packaging, waterlogged items can harbor harmful microorganisms and bacteria, causing severe health issues. Among the other things you should never keep after a flood are the following:

Contaminated Carpets

As earlier said, it’s vital to understand the type of flooding you’re dealing with to determine whether to toss or keep particular items. For example, if your home experiences clean water, you can save the carpet if you act fast. In the event of gray water flooding, the chances of salvaging your carpet are slightly lower. Unfortunately, you might be unable to save your carpet if it experiences black water flooding.


Whether clean, gray, or black water, you should discard any medication exposed to flooding. Regardless of the packaging, consuming water-contaminated medicine can aggravate your health issues.


Water-contaminated food is not ideal for consumption. Ensure to toss vegetables, grains, and fruits exposed to flood water. Besides human food, you should also throw water-contaminated pet food.

Nevertheless, this rule is different from medication. Canned and foods in airtight plastic containers might still be fit for consumption. However, the packaging should be intact for this food to be harmless. If you think moisture has accessed your packed food, avoid consuming it.


Upholstered furniture should also be tossed if it was standing in floodwater. Of course, this might be difficult, but keeping the waterlogged furniture encourages mold and mildew growth, posing a health hazard.


Mattresses are among the first items to toss after a flood. Similar to upholstered furniture, mattresses can be challenging to clean and likely to encourage mold growth.

Things To Keep After A House Flood

With determination and extra work, you can save the following items after a flood:

Wooden Furniture

Wooden furniture is among the items you can salvage after a flood. However, such items should be thoroughly cleaned and dried to discourage mold and mildew growth. If your furniture produces a musty smell, it might be too late to save it.


Immediately after the flood, clean your clothes and fabrics with high-quality detergents. The washing might require several cycles to remove any unpleasant scents. Avoid wearing clothes with a funny smell, and ensure they’re completely dry before putting them on.


A flooding situation is among the most disturbing events a home can endure. It can cause severe damage leading to extensive loss. Besides the real estate property, household items are also severely affected by flooding. Fortunately, if you act fast, you can salvage some of your belongings, especially if you seek professional assistance from a water damage restoration company.

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Author: Fazal Umer

Fazal is a dedicated industry expert in the field of civil engineering. As an Editor at ConstructionHow, he leverages his experience as a civil engineer to enrich the readers looking to learn a thing or two in detail in the respective field. Over the years he has provided written verdicts to publications and exhibited a deep-seated value in providing informative pieces on infrastructure, construction, and design.