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

Using a Do-It-Yourself Carpet Cleaner

Using a carpet cleaner can save a lot of money, but it does require a little bit of strategy. Thankfully, if you are armed ...

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 Rubber Stains from Flooring

Rubber stains are very common on hard surfaces and the even appear occasionally on carpeted floors. Luckily, they are easy to ...

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

Keeping a Toilet Clean and Fresh

It is obvious, and disgusting, when a toilet is not clean. With some regular cleaning, you can keep your toilet looking clean ...

Discover More

Dealing with Toilet Bowl Lime Scale

When most people here the term "lime scale" they think of problems in their bathtubs, showers, or maybe on the water cooler. ...

Discover More

Clean Toilets

Do you hate to clean the bathroom, and especially the toilet? Learn the easiest ways to get great cleaning results!

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. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. 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 nine more than 9?

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


Newest Tips
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.