After a flood

Find out if it is safe to return to your property after a flood. Take care as there may be hidden dangers in the flood water like sharp objects, raised manhole covers and pollution. Flood water can also cause structural damage to your property.

When you return to your property:

  • don't turn on gas, electricity etc until systems have been checked by suppliers
  • don't throw damaged items away until your insurers have inspected them
  • throw away food that has been in contact with flood water
  • contact your water company if tap water is discoloured or tastes bad
  • air your home as much as possible
  • get advice on repair work only from registered tradesmen, beware of rogue traders
  • contact the National Flood Forum for advice and support from those who have previously suffered flooding

Clearing up after a flood

There are a number of things to be aware of when clearing up after a flood:

  • flood water can contain sewage, chemicals and animal waste - you should always wear waterproof outerwear, including gloves, wellington boots and a face mask
  • if your electricity supply is not already switched off at the mains, get a qualified person to do this - do not touch sources of electricity when standing in flood water
  • if you have gas or oil central heating and it has been checked by an engineer, turn it on
  • keep the thermostat between 20 and 22 degrees centigrade for steady drying
  • you can get water out of your property using a pump and generator, positioned outside in the open air as generators produce carbon monoxide fumes that can kill
  • only pump out water when flood levels outside your property start to be lower than inside as this reduces risk of structural damage
  • shovel mud away evenly from both sides of a wall to stop pressure building up on one side
  • you can clean and disinfect your property using ordinary household products
  • a garden hose is useful for washing down, but do not use high-pressure hoses as they blast contaminated matter into the air
  • if you are drying your property naturally, keep doors and windows open as much as possible
  • if you are using dehumidifiers, close external doors and windows
  • skips and extra rubbish collections may be provided for items that your insurance company has agreed you can throw away


Call your buildings and contents insurance company as soon as possible. The insurance company will usually send a loss adjuster to look at your property. They will confirm what repairs and replacements are needed and covered by your policy. Ask if they will help pay for repairs that will reduce potential flood damage and therefore reduce costs if it happens again.

If you rent your property, contact your landlord and your contents insurance company as soon as possible.

If you do not have insurance, we may be able to provide information on hardship grants or charities to help you.