How to Tell If Your Leak Is Safe to Clean Yourself

Even a small leak can be dangerous to clean yourself if its contaminated. Raw sewage, dangerous chemicals, and bacteria laden water should never be cleaned yourself. Before you tackle DIY leak repair around your building, take a few minutes to answer these questions. If you can answer “Yes!” to these four questions you have the go ahead to clean this water up yourself.


You know where the water is coming from

An unknown leak should never be tackled by yourself. DIY leak repair doesn’t work for mysteries. If you’re not sure of the water’s origin you can’t make a guess at what’s in it. Water that runs through fields, garages, or construction areas can easily become contaminated. A backed up toilet system may not look gross as a leak, but it could carry contaminates that are dangerous. Cleaning up contaminated water can pose a serious threat to your health.

On the other hand, potable water sources are safe to clean. If you could drink the water or bathe yourself in it, you will probably be able to safely clean it up yourself. Showers, sinks, and faucets are the most common sources of clean water leaks.

The water is clear

Before you dive into cleaning, check out the color of the water. Fresh, clear water is the safest to clean yourself. Water that looks oily, discolored, or “cloudy” is carrying contaminates. Best case scenario you’re dealing with plain dirt carried along by the flow. As cloudy water could be a sign of bacteria flourishing, however, it’s not something that you should mess with. Clear or faintly tinted water is much more likely to be safe to clean up than dirty water.

You have safety equipment

Before you clean up any water whatsoever, do a safety gear check. Get yourself gloves and a face mask. Gloves will protect your hands from anything sharp that may be lingering in the water. They will also stop chemicals and contaminates from getting on your skin and into cuts and scrapes. A face mask protects your lungs by filtering out some airborne particles. It can also stop water from getting into your mouth.

Other specialized safety equipment is not necessary for DIY leak repair. Just dress appropriately, and make covering and protecting your skin a priority. Take special care to keep open wounds clean and dry.

You know how long the water has been there

Even clean water from a clean source will become contaminated over time. Molds and bacteria love the moisture that leaks provide. DIY leak repair shouldn’t extend to mopping up a deep puddle of unknown length of existence. In order to keep things clear, don’t risk cleaning water that’s had time to incubate.

DIY leak repair and cleanup is a great solution for a specific subset of leaks. If you know where the water’s coming from, how long it’s been there, and you have the equipment, dive in. If you’re unsure on one or more of these points, leave this cleanup to the professionals.

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