How to Clean Up Raw Sewage in a Basement

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Things You'll Need

  • Long-sleeve shirt

  • Pants

  • Work boots

  • Rubber gloves

  • Rubber waders

  • Garbage bags

  • Wet/dry vacuum

  • Water hose

  • Bucket

  • Bleach

  • Stiff-bristled brush broom

  • White vinegar

  • Fans

  • Dehumidifier

Raw sewage can be contaminated with bacteria.

A busted sewer pipe or backed-up drain can spell trouble for your basement. Raw sewage can damage your basement as well as create a slew of health problems. The smell alone is enough to send even the most devoted homeowners headed to the hills. Cleaning a basement flooded with raw sewage should be handled by a professional. If, however, you insist on cleaning the basement yourself, proper care and safety precautions must be taken to prevent harm to your home as well as yourself.

Step 1

Put on a long-sleeve shirt, pants, work boots and rubber gloves. If possible, wear a pair of rubber waders.

Step 2

Turn off any gas or water lines that are present in the basement, such as those running to the water heater.

Step 3

Open the door and all windows--if any--in the basement. This will help ventilate the basement and allow better air circulation.

Step 4

Remove all damaged items from the basement. Toss smaller items into garbage bags and place them outside. Move larger items out of the basement with the help of a friend or family member.

Step 5

Plug a wet/dry vacuum into a grounded outlet. Remove the raw sewage with a wet/dry vacuum. Dump the contents of the wet/dry vacuum's canister frequently into a sewage system or toilet.

Step 6

Rinse the basement walls and floors with a water hose. Direct the water toward the basement drain.

Step 7

Fill a bucket with 1 gallon of water. Add 1 cup of bleach. Saturate a stiff-bristled brush broom into the mixture. Scrub the walls of the basement and move down toward the floor. Continue saturating the brush broom and scrubbing the basement.

Step 8

Rinse the basement walls and floors with a water hose. Direct the water toward the basement drain.

Step 9

Discard the contents of the bucket and rinse it and the brush broom clean.

Step 10

Fill the bucket once again with 1 gallon of water. Add 1 cup of bleach. Saturate the brush broom into the mixture and scrub the basement walls and floors once again. Rinse with the water hose.

Step 11

Lay washable items out on your yard and rinse with the water hose. Launder the items as you normally would except add 1 cup of white vinegar with the laundry detergent. Discard all non-washable items that came in contact with the raw sewage.

Step 12

Remove the clothing you are wearing. Wash the shirt, pants, socks and underwear as you normally would. Rinse boots thoroughly with cool water. Discard rubber gloves. Shower thoroughly with soap and warm water.

Step 13

Turn on fans inside the basement and allow the area to dry out completely. Run a dehumidifier in the basement to help remove moisture and prevent mold growth.


Amanda Flanigan

Amanda Flanigan began writing professionally in 2007. Flanigan has written for various publications, including WV Living and American Craft Council, and has published several eBooks on craft and garden-related subjects. Flanigan completed two writing courses at Pierpont Community and Technical College.