The other day, I was researching some info on internet forums about water damage and it had occurred to me that even though much of what “professionals” talk about in these forums probably won’t really matter to homeowners, especially the “science” behind their professions, that maybe for the homeowner, they can still take away something useful from these discussions.
Particularly, the “simple cleanups” with respect to water damage. Like the last entry where I made the argument on why you shouldn’t hire a water damage restoration professional, there are going to be situations where hiring a professional just won’t be convenient or cost-effective, especially when drying a wet or damp area from a leak or minor flooding from the water pipes are clean, and not from sewage water. Obviously, if your home was hit by a major rainstorm or hurricane, and mud, dirt, and other road debris entered your home through cracks in the walls or what not, it might be a good idea to bring in the professionals here. But I’m not talking about those kinds of situations. I’m talking about the more common leaks and flooding that might occur because your house is old and things break around the house and you can’t justify paying a professional to dry out the room or basement for whatever your reasons might be. Or, maybe you’re just that kind of rugged individual who would rather do everything yourself because it’s your home and only you would know how best to take care of your home.
In these scenarios, I think there’s a few things you can do.
- Buy yourself a basic mop and bucket with wringer combo
- Buy yourself a big bulk bag of cat litter or similar clay absorbent material
- Buy yourself a couple of basic air mover unit
Why buy all of these things? Well, first of all, if there is a puddle of water in your bathroom or basement, you’re going to want to make it as “water-free” as possible to help with the drying process. A big puddle on the floor will take much longer to dry out than if the surface was just damp with no water puddled up on top. This is where the mop and bucket with wringer comes into play. Just take your mop and suck up as much water as you can by mopping the area, wringing it out into the bucket, and then mopping again until you can get it as “water-free” as possible.
As far as what brands to buy with respect to mops and buckets? I think any brand that is a mop and bucket with wringer combo will do. As long as the mop head is absorbent (it’s usually made of cotton) and can be reused, that’s all you really need. With that said, you can certainly find mop heads and mop handles at your local dollar store but I wouldn’t recommend those. The mop handles tend to be mostly made of cheap plastic that break easily with little to no flexibility and the mop heads tend to get frazzled and lose their absorbency much faster than the cheaper generic brands. Plus, the mop bucket and wringers never seem to be strong enough to wring out the water without bending the entire unit as you wring out the water. Now, me personally? I would just buy the cheapest generic brand mop head, mop handle, and bucket with wringer. And when I was researching this, I found these were, by far, the cheapest that I can find with shipping and taxes included.
Mop head: Rubbermaid Medium Mop Head
Mop bucket with wringer combo: Genuine Joe Splash Guard Mop Bucket w/ Wringer
Altogether, total cost for the above three should bring you to about $90. Once you’ve mopped up your bathroom or basement as much as you can, the next step should be pouring the area with some absorbent material. Saw dust or clay absorbent material will suffice. But based on my research, I’ve found that saw dust tended to be much more expensive to buy in bulk than it was with clay absorbent material (AKA cat litter). And another interesting thing I found about the cost of cat litter by the pound compared to just any old bulk clay absorbent material is that retailers tend to overcharge you for cat litter than if you just bought a generic bulk bag of what is essentially the same thing minus the fancy bag. And like the previous items, I’ve found the biggest bag of generic “cat litter” that I can find and that is by a well-known brand called “Oil-Dri.”
Here’s the bulk bag of cat litter for cheap: Oil-Dri Clay Absorbent 50 lbs Bulk Bag
With that added to the above total, that should bring you to about $105. Not bad, all things considered. With both your mop and clay absorbent material, you’re already half way done with drying out your bathroom or basement. Just grab a cat litter scoop or bowl to be used as a scoop and coat a generous amount of clay absorbsent around the entire wet area and let it sit for an hour or so. Then with a shovel or broom, (or your non-slip boots), just shuffle the clay absorbent around to make sure that most of the moisture has been absorbed by the clay absorbent. Afterward, just grab a dustpan and scoop the wet clay absorbent into a trash bag and you’re just about done.
If you’re okay with letting the room air dry by itself from there, then you’d be all done for the day. But if not and you want to be extra sure that the floor is as dry as possible, bring in the air mover units, plug them into the walls and arrange them accordingly. If your room is a standard “box” meaning it has four corners, it’s probably going to be best to use four air mover units each pointing towards one corner until you complete all four corners. This creates a sort of “vacuum” or mini tornado in the room where all the moisture gathers into the center whereby, you can either open up a window to let that moisture “fly out” or if your basement doesn’t have a window to let that air out, you can buy a dehumidifier to draw that moisture out. Or, what you can do is if you know that the room or basement is air tight to start with, just open your basement door and front door that leads to the outside to create “positive air pressure” where the “negative air pressure” (your basement) will want to rush out the front door. This is, of course, going to take a bit longer but it’s a free way of doing it.
The concept is simple. It’s just like when you turn on your AC in your car or in your house. You don’t want the “cool air” to escape to the outside so this is the reason why you close all your windows and make sure the room (or your car) is as air-tight as possible so that the cool air will remain in the room (or car). Cold air will always want to go to an area of the room where the air is warmer and vice versa. In the most simplistic sense, that’s pretty much how air pressure works.
Product Recommendation from Goo Wak Jai: XPOWER 1/2 HP Air Mover and Carpet Dryer