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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

How to Clean Sewage Backup in Your Bathtub

4/15/2020 (Permalink)

Sewage floating on water


There are few things more distressing than the sight…and smell…of sewage backing up into your bathtub, or any other place it’s not meant to be.

Unfortunately, a sewage backup can be fairly common and once it happens, the aftermath can be equally distressing.

Depending on the severity of the problem, you may be able to handle clean up yourself or you may have to rely on a professional service to get the job done safely and thoroughly.

Cleanup will involve removing the contaminated water and any solids contained in it, thoroughly disinfecting any surfaces that it came into contact with and treating any signs of possible mold growth.

Once cleanup is finished, then it will be possible to address the cause of the backup to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

What To Do When A Backup Occurs

Obviously, the ideal response of any homeowner should be to take all necessary measures to prevent a backup by ensuring that your pipes don’t become clogged.

Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to avoid a backup, so once it happens you need to be prepared to handle what comes next. (https://www.iii.org/article/protect-your-house-from-sewer-backups)

A sewage backup isn’t like any other water emergency since sewage contains any number of bacteria which can be extremely hazardous.

In order to minimize the potential danger, sewage should be cleaned out as quickly as possible, but cleaning it properly involves taking all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of bacteria and the growth of mold.

If the backup is relatively minor, you may be able to handle it yourself.

If this is the case, begin by taking the following precautionary steps immediately:

  • Seal off access to the bathroom to keep children, pets and the elderly safe.
  • Shut off the electricity, water, and gas to the bathroom.
  • Open windows to ventilate the area.
  • Remove any dry, uncontaminated items.
  • Add small amounts of chlorine bleach to contaminated water to begin the disinfection process and prevent bacteria from spreading.
  • Notify your insurance company, as this kind of household damage, is generally covered by most homeowner’s policies. Be sure to take several photos before you begin any cleanup so that you have full documentation of the severity of the problem.

For help or if you have questions you can reach us at Office@SERVPROftlnorth.com
or call us 24-7-365 (954) 733-1006

Begin Cleanup

Because of the potential dangers from handling raw sewage, it is generally recommended that you call a professional mitigation company to perform cleanup but in mild cases, it may be possible to handle the cleanup yourself.

Be sure to use the proper safety gear, including rubber gloves, rubber boots, goggles, and a face mask

It is imperative that you don’t let any exposed skin come into direct contact with sewage as the bacteria in sewage can cause infections. (https://www3.epa.gov/npdes/pubs/mstr-ch5.pdf)

Once you have the proper gear, you should take the following steps to ensure careful and thorough cleaning of the sewage backup:

  • Close the door of the bathroom to prevent tracking sewage and potential contaminants into other parts of the house. This will also prevent airborne sewage-contaminated dust from spreading throughout the house.
  • First and foremost, remove sewage-contaminated standing water, using a pump or a wet-dry vac with a proper filter. If you rent a pump and/or generator for this purpose, be sure to notify the rental agent that it is being used to clean up a sewage backup so that it can be properly disinfected afterward.
  • Shovel any dirt, soil or debris into sturdy trash bags and dispose of them immediately.
  • If there are any items in the bathtub or shower area that have become soaked or damage, it is probably best to dispose of them. This includes towels, bathmats, curtains or other fabrics.
  • Thoroughly wipe down any surfaces, including the tub itself and surrounding walls, with hot water and bleach or some other antibacterial agent.
  • After the initial wipe down, you can then deep clean using household detergent and hot water. Take particular care washing down the floor by using a brush dipped in one part bleach to four parts water, then rinse thoroughly with clean water.
  • Let the area dry completely, which may take several hours. You can open the windows to facilitate drying if the weather is warm and dry. In humid or cold weather, keep the windows closed and use a dehumidifier.
  • After everything has dried, perform another disinfection by applying bleach and letting it sit for 15-20 minutes before cleaning.
  • It is essential to get the water damaged area dried out within 24-48 hours after the backup in order to prevent mold growth.
  • Once you have finished clean up, you’ll want to wash any clothing that came in contact with the contaminated water with chlorine bleach.


When to Call the Professionals

While you may be able to handle the cleanup of minor sewage backups yourself, it’s usually a safer idea to contact sewage cleanup professionals in order to ensure that your house is cleaned and decontaminated properly.

There are some instances in which professional cleanup will be absolutely necessary, including:

  • If the backup is not confined to one room.
  • If the backup occurred more than 24 hours ago or has been sitting for an undetermined number of hours. The longer raw sewage sits, the more the bacteria it contains will spread making the handling of the backup extremely dangerous.
  • The backup is caused by a sewer main or septic tank issue.
  • If there is any possibility that the sewage water may have come into contact with your home’s air conditioning system. If the air conditioning system is affected, the contaminants can be spread throughout the house so it will be crucial to have proper duct cleaning in order to prevent this possibility.
  • If anyone in your family has underlying health issues that may be aggravated by the contaminants in the backup.

For help or if you have questions you can reach us at:  Office@SERVPROftlnorth.com
or call us 24-7-365 (954) 733-1006

What the Professionals Can Do For You

Professional sewage cleanup services are really your best option for handling any kind of backup as they have the equipment and the knowledge to handle these issues and are committed to returning your home to its pre-backup condition.

They will take all necessary safety precautions while working to keep contaminants from spreading throughout your home and to mitigate the spread of mold.

When you do contact a sewage cleanup service they’ll be able to remove sewage backup and solid materials in a safe manner; completely clean and sanitize the affected area and decontaminate the entire home if necessary; use professional dehumidifiers or air movers to thoroughly dry the area; remove mold damage and mitigate further mold growth and perform any necessary repairs.

After Clean Up

Whether you perform the cleanup yourself or call in a professional sewage cleanup service, once the cleanup has been completed, you can then address whatever the cause of the backup may be.

Remember, if you do have a sewage backup in your tub you need to move quickly to prevent any danger to your family. A sewer backup is certainly distressing, but there’s no need to panic.

A professional sewage cleanup service can ensure that the cleanup is handled properly and your home is restored to its former condition.

For help or if you have questions you can reach us at:
or call us 24-7-365 (954) 733-1006

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