Flood Cleanup Kits Prepare You For High Tides

A flood cleanup kit helps dry out your home quickly and safely.

A flood cleanup kit helps you dry and disinfect your sopping home before mold, mildew, and water damage make a bad situation worse.

Unlike chlorinated water from burst pipes, floodwater from rising rivers and downpours is contaminated with germs and spores. 

“The quicker you can clean it up, the better,” says Jim Judge, a member of the Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council. “Having the right tools is going to make it easier.”

During flood emergencies, the Red Cross hands out cleanup kits in selected neighborhoods. But you can make your own. Here’s what you’ll need:


Push out water and mud quickly with a stiff-bristled, 24-inch-wide push broom ($60-$70). Some have a squeegee attached, which will remove any water the broom leaves behind.


Use a sponge mop ($15) to sop up dirty floodwater; switch to a string mop ($100) to disinfect the area.


You need two buckets: One for dirty water; the other for disinfectant. The most economical are 5-gallon drywall mud buckets, which you can buy ($3) or just recycle from your last wall repair project. (Tip: Don't throw away drywall buckets; they’re great as planters and stools--for sitting, not standing--and for tool storage.)


A large grouting sponge ($2 for 5 1/2-inch sponge) spreads disinfectant into hard-to-reach places. Apply disinfectant liberally.

Chlorine Bleach

Old-fashioned bleach ($2 for 96 fl. oz.) is the best disinfectant for flood cleanup. To disinfect floors, pour one cup of bleach into 5 gallons of water; to clean mold from walls, use a solution with 9 parts water to 1 part bleach.

Rubber Gloves

Protect your hands from bleach and dirty water with heavy rubber gloves. Dishwashing gloves ($2) will do, so long as they reach your elbows.


You can’t have enough rags for flood cleanup. They’re great for spreading disinfectant. After use, dispose in a plastic bag.

Trash Bags

Throw away trash, mud, rags, and leaves in heavy (3-6 mil) contractor trash bags ($11 for 20 bags).


Housing And Real Estate Expert Lisa Kaplan-Gordon
Lisa Kaplan Gordon

Lisa Kaplan Gordon is an award-winning, Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer who contributes to real estate and home improvement sites. In her spare time (yeah, right!), she gardens, manages three dogs, and plots to get her 21-year-old out of her basement.