Removing water damaged items

Information on how to remove water damaged items, and clean and dry out your home.

It is recommended that you talk to your insurance company and local council before carrying out any work. They may also be able to assist with the disposal of water damaged items.

Where water has entered the basement and living areas of the building, the aim is to remove all items that are wet or holding water and those that may prevent the building from drying out.

Some building materials may sustain wetting for short periods of time without causing permanent damage, but they should be dried out as soon as possible.

Under section 41(1)(c) of the Building Act, building work that needs to be carried out urgently, such as removing linings to allow a wall to dry, may be done without a building consent, for the purpose of saving or protecting life or health or preventing serious damage to property.


Once all water damaged items have been removed, the next step is to clean the property and remove any dirt and debris left behind by floodwater.

Section five of BU666 Restoring a home after flood damage (2021) from BRANZ contains useful information about how to clean up after an extreme weather event.

Drying out the home

Once wet materials have been removed and the dwelling is thoroughly cleaned, drying out can begin. Drying out can be a slow process and may take 3-4 months.

To reduce risks such as mould growth, dry out the home as soon as possible.

On dry days, keep all windows and doors open to maximise ventilation. On wet days, leave windows ajar so there is still some ventilation.

Make use of fans and heaters to speed up the drying process but note that too much heat may cause wood to warp and split.

Additional resources

Section eight of BU666 Restoring a home after flood damage (2021) from BRANZ contains useful information about how to dry out your home.

This information is published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Chief Executive. It is a general guide only and, if used, does not relieve any person of the obligation to consider any matter to which the information relates according to the circumstances of the particular case. Expert advice may be required in specific circumstances. Where this information relates to assisting people: