Explained: The 3 Categories of Water Damage

A couple wearing rubber boots stand on a flooded floor.

Flooding from a rainstorm is a different type of water-damage event than, say, a burst pipe or a sewage back-up. That’s why the Institute of Cleaning and Restoration Certification assigns categories to contaminated water.

Knowing the type of water damage, you’re dealing with will help you determine what steps to take next.

The 3 Categories of Contaminated Water

Category 1: Cleanwater

Water damage from a leaking water heater or water line falls under the cleanwater category for the obvious reason that this water is clean. It poses no immediate health threat, making it safe to clean up yourself -- provided there is no risk of electrical shock. If you decide to tackle the job yourself, act fast. Toxic mold can develop within 48 hours.

Category 2: Greywater

Greywater is wastewater from showering, washing dishes, or washing clothes. Water damage from a malfunctioning washing machine or dishwasher contains some pathogens. Cleaning greywater floods requires extra precautions, such as goggles, boots, and gloves. Be careful not to ingest it. Consider hiring a professional to decontaminate the affected area.

Category 3: Blackwater

This is wastewater contaminated by human waste. Water damage from a sewage back-up or overflowing toilet is dangerously unsanitary. Likewise, floodwater from a weather event is also considered blackwater because it may contain hazardous chemicals, pesticides, and bacteria. In many cases, furniture, flooring, and drywall that has been saturated with blackwater are unsalvageable. Do not attempt to clean a blackwater spill on your own. Contact a water damage restoration company right away.

Your Home Has Been Contaminated by Water: What Next?

After a flooding event, job No. 1 is to dry and thoroughly sanitize the space with an antimicrobial treatment. A professional restoration company uses advanced tools and techniques to decontaminate your home and prevent the potential for mold. The Rancho Cucamonga water damage restoration experts at Cut N Dry Restoration are committed to restoring your home to its original state quickly and safely. To schedule an appointment, call (909) 829-5002.

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