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Rebuilding lives: How to clean up your home after flood

Unlike regular cleaning, clean-up after a flood is very difficult. It concerns health issues and hazards one might have to face if they are not cautious enough. Here are a few tips that might be useful.

sodium polyacrylate, disinfectant, flood, kerala, clean house, super absorbent polymer, bleach, chlorine, indian express, indian express news Here’s how you can clean up your flood-hit home. (Source: File Photo)

With the rains letting up in Kerala, the people of the state who took refuge in disaster relief camps, are now eager to return home. But they are faced with an uphill task of cleaning their flood-hit home, and health issues and hazards are a big concern. It is positively a nightmare and few resources tell you where to start.

Here are a few tips that might help.

Sodium Polyacrylate to absorb water
In what has been termed as ‘magic in a bottle’, a few tablespoons of this affordable super absorbent polymer compound can effectively and quickly absorb water, after which it turns into a solid lump and can be easily disposed. It is the same substance that is used in sanitary napkins and diapers as it absorb liquid more than 200-300 times its weight. Working with the compound is not harmful. However, some people have expressed their concerns about the compound as it is not biodegrable and might harm the environment.

WATCH VIDEO: Kerala floods: A quick guide of DOs and DON’Ts for the people of Kerala after returning home

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Bleaching powder as a disinfectant
Bleaching powder can be used to disinfect the house. A paste can be made by mixing 6 teaspoons of bleaching powder in one litre of water, and after it sits for 30 minutes, the clear solution (chlorine solution) can be used to clean the floors and tiles of the house.

The same product can be used to disinfect wells as well. After making a paste of water and bleaching powder (five grams per 1,000 litres of water) and dissolving it in a bucket filled with three-fourth parts water, the solution should be left undisturbed for about ten minutes. It can then be immersed into the well and mixed properly with the water in the well. The water may be used after an hour.

Chlorine to clean kitchen utensils and drinking water
Utensils should be cleaned thoroughly after a flood. It is recommended to rinse and then sanitize them by applying a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of warm (not hot) water. It should be then air dried. Boiling cookware can also be used as an alternative sanitizing step.

It must be taken care that water for domestic use is disinfected too. For that, chlorine can come to your rescue. A chlorine tablet mixed in a bucket of water will make the water ready for use after half an hour. Only boiled water must be consumed for drinking purposes and all drinking water sources must be chlorinated.


Protective gear to avoid contact with posionous creatures or pests
While news of people who have had to face snakes and pests in their houses upon their return is not rare, people must wear personal protection gear such as gloves, boots and masks while cleaning their houses to avoid any unfortunate accident.

In your efforts to rebuild your houses, we hope this helps.

First published on: 23-08-2018 at 02:11:45 pm
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