Cleaning the Mess from an Overflowed Toilet

by Carolanne Strong
(last updated May 29, 2017)

Sewage back up happens when there is a break or clog in the septic or sewer system. Sewage water usually backs up in the lowest drain points in the home, and is not limited to toilets; tubs and sinks can back up too. This kind of reversal is every home dweller's nightmare. Not only is it soggy and smelly, but it is highly unsanitary. If you have this situation in your home, act quickly to contain the damage and clean up the area.

  • Stop the backup. There is no sense in cleaning up a mess unless you are certain that it won't overflow again. The first thing you should do is stop up the toilet's bowl opening to keep waste water from continuing to back up with a string mop or towel. Remember that anything you use will be contaminated and disposed of afterwards. After you've done that, shut off the water supply to the toilet, because even though the incoming water is fresh, it can add to the dirty water in the bowl and cause even more back-up. You can do this by turning off the water valve that is usually located below the tank and is attached to the wall. Call a plumber as soon as you've contained the flow.
  • Know when to call in a professional cleanup company. If the sewer water is contained to one room and hasn't had time to soak into wood or dry wall, then chances are you will be able to take care of the problem yourself. If your bathroom is carpeted, however, or if the walls and cabinets appear to be damaged, you should call a local disaster cleanup company. They have high-powered tools for water removal and will know how to best repair the surrounding damage. When making the decision to clean it up yourself or call a professional, remember that water damage can quickly turn into a mold problem, so if you have any doubt that you will not be able to remove all moisture, don't hesitate to call. Most homeowner insurance policies will cover this type of clean up.
  • Remove the waste water. If you've decided you can tackle the clean up on your own, you will first need to take care of the standing water on the floors. Using a bucket and mop, soak up the water and ring it into the toilet (Don't do this until after you are sure the toilet is functioning properly).
  • Sanitize. Use a strong bleach solution—1-3/4 cup per gallon of water—to wipe down anything that had contact with the waste water. This includes floors, walls, toilet bases and lids, cabinets, sink pedestals and tubs. Wear rubber gloves and ventilate the area. If you are uncomfortable using bleach, you can try a commercial disinfectant cleaner like liquid Lysol.

Author Bio

Carolanne Strong

MORE FROM CAROLANNE

Keep Paper Lampshades Looking Their Best

Paper lampshades are a creative and often inexpensive way to add style and texture to a room, but you they can be fragile. If ...

Discover More

Getting Broken Glass Out of Your Carpet

Broken glass isn't difficult to clean up, but you will want to be thorough and careful as you remove the pieces from your ...

Discover More

Removing Hard Water and Rust Stains

If you have scrubbed your sink and it is germ free, but still looks grimy, chances are you have a hard water stain.

Discover More

Tough Tools for Tough Cleaning Jobs O-Cel-O sponges and Scotch Brite scrubbers are truly a fashion-meets-function success story. The highly absorbent and durable sponges in this handy six-pack make quick work of tough cleaning problems in any kitchen, bathroom, or garage. Check out Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty Scrub Sponges today!

More Cleaning Tips

Choosing a Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Consider the cause of the stains in your toilet before choosing a toilet bowl cleaner. Also keep in mind the composition of ...

Discover More

Cleaning Up After a Toilet Reversal

Cleaning up anything that has spilled from the toilet can be a dirty and disgusting job. Often when you find yourself ...

Discover More

Stubborn Toilet Bowl Rings

Over time just about anything will stain and often that includes toilet bowls. Often one of the most difficult areas to clean ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in Cleaning Tips from Tips.Net. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 6 - 0?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Newest Tips
Videos

Subscribe to the Tips.Net channel:

Visit the Tips.Net channel on YouTube

Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in Cleaning Tips from Tips.Net. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.