Flooding can lead to serious problems in homes and buildings, one of the most significant being the growth of mold. Mold poses serious health risks and can significantly impact the structural integrity of a building. Here’s a detailed guide on how to clean up and prevent mold after a flood:
The Timeline of Mold Growth
Mold growth can start quickly—within 24 to 48 hours of water exposure. Mold colonies will continue to grow as long as the moisture level is high. Mold often grows on wood, paper products, ceiling tiles, and cardboard. It can also grow in dust, insulation, drywall, wallpaper, paints, carpet, fabric, and upholstery.
Preventing Mold After Flooding
The only way to prevent mold from growing is to dry the affected area as quickly as possible. Open up the building if it’s less humid outside, remove all debris and wet items, clean exposed surfaces with disinfectants or sanitizers, and use fans and dehumidifiers to reduce the moisture content of the air and help things dry more quickly.
How Long to Run a Dehumidifier After a Flood
Run a dehumidifier until porous surfaces in the space have dried out completely. It can take anywhere from two days to several weeks to dry out a flood-damaged building. Until everything is dry, mold can continue to damage the building.
Cleaning Products for Mold and Mildew Removal
Common household items like bleach and dish detergent can be used to clean mold on hard surfaces like flooring, countertops, and wood. Commercial mold and mildew removers, washing soda or tri-sodium phosphate, and a solution of bleach and water can also be used.
When to Hire a Professional
If the mold growth covers more than 10 square feet, it’s best to consult an experienced mold remediation company.
Safety Precautions After a Flood
Wear gloves, goggles, and an N-95 respirator when cleaning up flood damage and debris. Never mix bleach or ammonia with any other cleaner. Have your heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system checked and cleaned by a service professional experienced in mold cleanup before turning it on.
Signs of a Mold Problem
Mold has a musty smell, and the material it’s growing on may warp, crack, or peel. A drop of bleach lightens its color within 1-2 minutes, and a source of moisture without much light is usually nearby. Mold exposure can trigger allergic reactions or even asthma attacks in individuals.
In conclusion, dealing with mold after a flood requires a systematic approach and a thorough understanding of the situation. If you need further information or evaluation of specific areas, consider contacting a professional mold remediation company.