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Is It Safe To Clean Up Overflowing Or Flooding Toilet Water?

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If your toilet clogs up and floods your entire bathroom tile flooring, you may wonder if it's safe to clean up the mess yourself. If the water doesn't contain body waste like feces, you may be able to clean it up yourself. But if the water does contain human waste, you need to hire a water removal contractor instead. To help you decide if it's safe to clean up your flooded bathroom or hire someone else, here's more information about the water in your toilet and bathroom.

What Type of Water Do You Have in Your Toilet?

The water in your home and toilet breaks up into three different categories, including clean and black. The safest type of water is clean water, which comes from sources that don't typically contain pathogens, such as your bathroom shower or sink faucet. You can generally drink or bathe in clean water without the fear of getting sick. 

If you don't chemically or mechanically treat the water in your toilet's tank, it may also be considered clean water. However, the water inside the toilet's bowl may become unclean if it has bacterial buildup along the rim, or dried urine or feces inside it. The bowl is also unsafe if the toilet backs up with feces and fills it, or if a clog develops in a sewer line and pushes feces, urine, and other body byproducts into it. In this case, the water is black water.

Black water is the most dangerous category of water because it does contain pathogens, including feces and bacteria. You usually discard items contaminated by black water, because it's not always possible to remove contaminants from them safely or completely. Before you tackle the mess in your bathroom, you want to know if the wet flooring contains black water content.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

  1. Did the toilet have feces inside it before and after it overflowed?
  2. Does the flooring give off a sewer odor?
  3. Does the flooring appear soiled with feces and urine?

If you answered "yes" to one or more of the questions above, stop and contact a water clean up contractor for assistance. Your bathroom needs special cleaning to become safe to use again. If you answered "no" to all of the questions above, you can safely clean your bathroom. 

How Do You Clean Up the Bathroom?

Before you clean the bathroom and its tile flooring, you'll need to take precautions. Even if you don't see or smell sewer contamination, you still want to protect your skin, eyes, and nasal passages from germs. To protect your feet, ankles, and legs, wear long pants and boots. You can protect your eyes and nasal passages from contaminants by wearing goggles and a face mask.

Next, investigate the flooring to get an idea of how much damage it sustained. If the tile appears cracked, loose, or lifts up from the floorboards, you may need to remove it and replace it with new flooring. The structures beneath the tile may be damp or soaked with water. Removing the damaged tile may allow the structures beneath them to dry properly, as well as prevent mold growth in the bathroom and home.

If the flooring still attaches to the floorboards or doesn't appear too damaged, you can try placing several high-powered fans in the room to dry it out. You should position the fans so that they circulate air up to the ceiling, toward the center of the room, and across the floor. You can mop up the water to help push the process along.

After the flooring dries, sanitize it with bleach or another disinfectant. You can also take time to clean your sink, bathtub, and any other structure in the room that may have come into contact with the overflowing water. Allow the fans to dry the room completely. 

If your bathroom still doesn't feel clean enough, consult with a water damage or clean up contractor, such as those at Complete Restoration Services, immediately.