Cross Contamination


Cross contamination can be a big problem when it comes to water damage. The other day someone suggested we do a YouTube video about how to stop cross contamination and we’re not quite ready to do that yet, so we thought we’d make a blog post about it in the mean time.

So let’s start at the beginning, what’s cross contamination? Cross contamination is anytime that a something moves from the dirty area of a water loss job and comes in contact with a clean area of a water loss job. The dirty object contaminates other objects that previously were not dirty.

There are some simple things that you and your water specialist can do to prevent cross contamination. Following these simple rules will limit cross contamination and keep your sewage cleanup bill smaller. Example. If you had a sewer back it and made the bottom of your desk dirty. Then a water cleanup professional moves the desk into another room that isn’t dirty. The desk has come in contact with a clean area of the home which is now contaminated. Now we have cross contamination.

One easy thing you can do is remove any footwear that you wore into the contaminated area. If you walked in to your basement and saw a sewer backup and then walked back into the rest of your house you’ve now contaminated your house. So remove whatever footwear you’ve worn into the effected area.

Lay down a plastic path using carpet protector. Your water damage professional should make a path with a carpet protecting pad that goes from the effected area to outside. This way when they are servicing your house they won’t be touching anything but the protective pad keeping your house clean.

Quarantine the effected materials. Your water damage professional should take anything that has been contaminated and box it up together. These boxes should then be moved to a specific area. Then the items should be cleaned individually and moved to a designated clean area. Doing this will keep effected items separate from clean and make sure that clean items do not get contaminated again.

Never put items back into the space until the entire area is cleaned and serviced. If you add items that have been cleaned back into an effected area before it is certifiably clean, then you may be recontaminating your home and home goods. On the flip side make sure everything is cleaned properly before adding it back to a cleaned room. It may sound obvious be this is cross contamination.

The best thing to do is just be careful. If you’re not sure if it’s contaminated or cleaned, then assume it’s dirty. This is the best way to assure that you don’t cause cross contamination.

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