How to Remove Water From a Flooded Room

Even minor floods can create major problems if they aren't cleaned up quickly.


Get water out fast with just a few tools.

Tools Required

  • Dehumidifier
  • Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum

There’s no getting around it: Major flooding requires professional clean-up with with professional equipment. But if you’ve got just a small amount of standing water in your basement, it’s better to tackle the project yourself rather than wait for a pro to arrive. Here’s how to safely remove flood water from a basement before it does even more damage.

Project step-by-step (4)

Step 1

Make Sure It’s Safe

Don’t plunge headfirst into a watery area without taking stock of the situation first.

  • Standing water and electricity can make one nasty safety hazard. Wear rubber-soled boots and gloves to minimize the risk of electrical shock.
  • Don’t touch any electrical devices (especially those still plugged into an outlet) until the basement has been sufficiently dried out.

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Step 2

Find the Source of the Water

The first thing you should do when you go down to the basement is find the source of the flood water.

  • Floods can happen for a variety of reasons, including:
  • If the flood was caused by natural, weather-related causes, you probably don’t have to worry about more water coming in (at least not until another storm hits) and you can start the clean-up process.
  • If something like a leaking pipe or a sump pump failure caused the flood, fix (or at least patch) that problem before attempting to get the water out of the room.

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Step 3

Pump the Water Out

The best tools for getting water out of a basement are a wet/dry shop vacuum and a dehumidifier.

  • Set up the shop-vac so that it can suction up water.
    • Take the top off and remove the air filter.
    • Place a wide, flat attachment on the end of the shop-vac hose.
  • Suck up all standing water into the vacuum and deposit it outside of your house as far away from the foundation as possible.
    • Pro tip: If you’re working with water-logged carpet, pass over each section of the floor multiple times to ensure you’re drying it out as much as possible.
  • Once all the standing water has been removed, set up the dehumidifier in the room and turn it on.

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Step 4

Assess the Damage

After the water is gone, it’s time to take a look at what further repairs will need to be done to return the room to normal.

  • Flood water is likely dirty, so anything that it touched should be thoroughly cleaned (if it can be) or thrown out.
  • Any wood or drywall in the room should be inspected. If it’s waterlogged, it will likely need to be removed and replaced.
  • If you know for certain that the floodwater came from a contaminated source (i.e. a sump pump) you should remove and replace the carpet.

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