Not much is better than having a dedicated laundry room inside of your home – Just ask anyone that must drive to their local laundromat just to wash their clothes.
But you may not feel so lucky when your washing machine leaks or overflows with sudsy water. When your washing machine floods your home, the water damage can be widespread and affect multiple levels of your property. Water can seep under floors, behind walls, and leak all the way down to your basement. When fast action isn’t taken, you may even end up with a mold problem on your hands.
Here, we will review what you should to help limit water damage after your washing machine overflows and what needs to be done for flood damage repairs.
How To Stop An Overflowing Washing Machine
When your washing machine is overflowing, immediately take the following steps regardless of the cause to stop flooding in its tracks.
- At your main circuit breaker, turn off the power to the washing machine. You should turn off the power this way to prevent a risk of electrocution from directly unplugging the machine if in standing water. Tip – Do NOT use the cancel button to turn off the washing machine. This activates the drain cycle which can make flooding much worse depending on the cause.
- Turn off the water supply to the washer to ensure flooding is stopped. This can be done at the shutoff valves behind the washing machine or at the main water shutoff if needed.
- Find the source of your overflow or leak. You should inspect all water supply hoses to the washing machine to see if they are detached or leaking. If you can’t figure out why the washing machine overflowed, don’t use it again until a repairman looks at it.
Cleaning Up A Washing Machine Overflow
Once you’ve stopped the machine from causing any more flooding in your laundry room, you should immediately begin the clean up process to help minimize the chance of water damage or mold growth.
1. Remove Wet Items
To make the cleanup process easier, you should remove any wet items such as area rugs or furniture from the affected area. Put them in a place to dry. If the weather permits, have them dry outside.
2. Cleanup Standing Water
You want to complete this step as soon as possible to help prevent water from seeping underneath floors and affecting other areas of your home. Depending on how much the washing machine leaked, you may only need a mop and a few towels to get up all the water. For larger amounts, you should use a wet dry vacuum to more quickly suck up water. You should get up as much water as possible in order to prevent the growth of mold or mildew in your laundry room.
If you can tell that your efforts aren’t enough to clean up all the water from your flood, you may need the help of a water damage restoration company. These companies have equipment and training to quickly and more completely remove water in your home – especially if flooding has reached carpeted areas.
3. Dry Out the Laundry Room
To dry out after flood damage, you’ll need to gather any fans or dehumidifiers in your home. Set up the equipment in all flood-affected areas and open windows and doors to help circulate air around the room.
You must leave fans and dehumidifiers for a minimum of three days after a water damage event. Depending on the extent of your damages, this process may need to be extended. You should not turn the equipment off until you’re sure all areas of moisture are completely dry.
4. Clean and Sanitize
Even though the water from a washing machine overflow isn’t hazardous and can be considered pretty clean, you should still take steps to clean and sanitize any affected walls, floors, or furniture in your laundry room. This step helps remove any lingering bacteria or mold spores that could cause trouble later in time.
5. Empty the Washing Machine
Once all areas of immediate water damage from the washing machine overflow are addressed, you can address your washing machine that’s likely still full of water and wet laundry. For this, you should grab a large bucket to help catch dripping water from the washing machine.
Removing clothes from the machine and wring them out over a sink. Don’t leave these clothes in a pile – be sure to hang them out to dry or put them in the dryer so that they don’t develop mold or mildew.
Once you’ve removed all the clothes, you can use a bucket to remove any remaining water in the washing machine. If you can’t get it all out but the washing machine isn’t repaired yet, use a wet dry vacuum to get the rest out. You don’t want to leave any water in the washing machine as it can cause mold to grow.
5. Inspect for Signs of Water Damage Around Your Home
Even after you’ve completed your cleanup, you should closely inspect all adjacent areas of your home for signs of water damage, structural issues, or mold growth. Water could have made its way beneath flooring or behind walls. You should inspect rooms next to and below the laundry room for the following signs:
- Water stains
- Bubbling or peeling paint
- Sagging ceilings
- Squishy walls or floors
- Bowing or bending flooring
- Mold growth
- Musty smells coming from carpeting
When you notice any of the above signs after your washing machine floods your house, you should immediately call a water damage restoration company for a professional damage inspection.
What Causes Washing Machine Overflows?
The most common causes of washing machine malfunctions include:
- Using too much laundry detergent causing build up and a subsequent clog
- Overloading the washing machine
- Old or worn water supply hoses can leak, crack or even detach from the washing machine
- Faulty water inlet valve, which controls to flow of water into the washing machine drum
You can help prevent flooding from an overflowing washing machine by performing regular maintenance and not over-filling the machine.