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Homeowner’s Guide To Cleaning Up A Sewer Backup

A sewer backup is no doubt one of the worst experiences any homeowner can go through. It poses potential damage to your home’s foundation.

It also opens the doors to different kinds of health hazards. Sewer backups can bring all sorts of illnesses from bacterial to viral to parasitical.

Unfortunately, sewer backups happen when you least expect them. The question is, do you know how to act upon the matter? Do you know how to clean up a sewer backup?

Continue reading below as we give you a rundown on what to do in case a sewer backup occurs on your property.

Sewer Backup: Cleaning Up the Mess

Sewer backup usually happens when there is a blockage on the service pipes. Tree roots and severe flooding are two of the most common culprits.

As a homeowner, there is not much you can do to clear the blockage by yourself. You should let the pros handle the sewer line repairs.

What you can do, however, is cleaning up a sewer backup. Below is how you can clean up the mess the right way.  If you have read enough and want some help we recommend OKSR Professional Remediation Services established in 1982 based in Oklahoma City they can take care of all cleanup and restoration projects. 405-601-1574

Be Mindful of Gas and Electricity

Before proceeding with the actual cleanup, you need to prioritize your safety. Make sure to be aware of electrical or gas that may have been exposed to the sewer water. If this has happened consider consulting with an electrical contractor or a gas contractor before cleaning or relighting appliances.

This is crucial especially when sewer backup happens inside a basement or confined space. The area contains various appliances and outlets that may cause electrocution. 

Invest in a good pair of rubber gloves and rubber boots. Don’t forget to wear your face shield too. Avoid touching the fuse box. The same thing goes for appliances that are still plugged in and of course, absolutely do not touch anything electrical while standing in water. Be safe first clean second.

Remove the Water

Get a wet/dry vacuum and start removing any water in the area make sure to remove the dry filter inside the vacuum. Check the level of water and determine if it is too much for the vacuum. If so, use a pump to suck out the water. The can be rented from tool rental companies such as Home Depot or Crosslands.

Look into your belongings and categorize them. Sort the ones that you can still clean and use. These are your clothes, furniture, and canned goods if any.

Separate the ones that you can already throw away. Make sure to discard soaked items like cosmetics, carpeting, and books. Put them inside a trash bag and take them out accordingly.

Blast Off the Sludge

After clearing the area of your belongings, start blasting the sludge using your trust garden hose. 

After spraying, check the water and see if it needs some vacuuming or pumping. As for the solids that fall into the floor, sweep them using a broom and dustpan.

Prepare a bucket of water and mix some cleaning solution for disinfection. Prepare another bucket with clear water only. Get some rags and start washing down the area using your cleaning mixture.

Use the water from the second bucket to rinse the area.

To cover more areas faster, start with the area farthest from the door. Slowly work your way back.

Mop the Floors

After cleaning the walls furniture or appliances as needed, you can now proceed with the floors. Using the same water and cleaning solution mixture, dip your mop and start mopping the floor. Make sure you change water as you cover each section of the room.

Complete the cleaning process by disinfecting both the walls and floors. Mix ½ cup of bleach with 1 gallon of water. Get a scrub and dip it in your solution.

Start scrubbing the walls and floors. Be sure to open all of the windows to help dry out the room faster. You can also turn on your dehumidifier if you have one.

If the sewage backs up on to carpet remove the carpet and padding pulling it back from the wall. You will need to replace the padding and shampoo the carpet after it drys. If this damage is more than a few square feet it is greatly recommended that you get professional help. For that matter, remember you can get professionals to do all the cleaning if you desire.


After leaving the affected area, proceed to the bathroom immediately for a hot shower. Use an antibacterial soap and wash your whole body thoroughly. As for your fingers, use a nailbrush for deep cleaning if needed.

Avoid eating or drinking anything until before taking a shower.

Prevention is Better than Cure

The old adage “prevention is better than cure” also applies in dealing with sewer backup. Here are some valuable tips that will help prevent backups.

Proper Waste Disposal

You need to dispose of your waste properly. Never flush your paper towels, cloth diapers, and feminine products on the toilet. These things take time before they disintegrate.

As for food waste like cooking oil, pour it inside a heat-resistant container. Wait for it to cool before disposing of accordingly. Never pour cooking oil into your kitchen drain.

Make sure to keep things like your carpet clean too. The fabric can collect dirt and debris, which builds up over time and can cause a blockage.

Doing so will clog the sewers the moment they cool down. In fact, grease is the leading cause of sewage backups in New York City.

Switch to New Plastic Pipes

As we mentioned earlier, tree roots are one of the causes of backups. Thus, you need to replace your old pipe with plastic ones. These pipes are durable enough to keep the roots from puncturing and penetrating your line.

Avoid Illegal Connections

You also need to stay away from illegal plumbing connections. Never connect sump pumps and other kinds of flood control systems to your sanitary system. It will only produce debris that will clog the pipelines.

Clean Up Outdoors

When a backup occurs outdoors the best practice is to let the paper and waste dry. Using a leaf rake make into a pile and then bag up debris and throw away. Be sure to wear gloves and face protection. There may be a faint sewer order but that should clear up after it rains once or twice.

Invest in a Backwater Valve

Lastly, you can also invest in a backwater prevention valve. This is a fixture that you install into your sewer line. It helps direct sewage away from your property and keeps it from coming back in.

Get Your Plumbing Right, Today!

Indeed, sewer backups can cause all sorts of trouble. If you fail to address the issue early on, it will only lead to a more problematic situation.

Thankfully, we can help address the matter, as well as all of your other plumbing concerns. Send us a message or give us a call. Let us know your plumbing needs and we’ll figure out a solution.

You can also arrange an appointment so we can get a better understanding of the situation. Let’s get your plumbing right, today!