Getting Rid of Mold
Mold is hard to get rid of. That’s why is better to take preventative measures to not allow water damage to happen in the first place. However, we all live in the real world and even with preventative measures, a water disaster can still happen. Where there is water damage, there is a risk for mold growth.
When mold is present, it can infect the entire home. Mold reproduces by forming tiny spores that are not visible to the naked eye. These spores can travel through the air of the home. Mold can cause serious health problems as well as extensive structural damage. Therefore, it should be taken very seriously. It’s recommended that you have a trained and experienced disaster restoration professional to help you get rid of mold.
Here are some tips to make sure you get? rid of your mold problem once and for all. It should be noted, though, that you must first stop the moisture problem; the source of the problem must be identified and corrected immediately.
Interior walls and Ceilings
- Remove all wet or contaminated porous materials such as ceiling tiles, drywall and wood by-products.
- Water can seep up higher than the visible water line. The best practice is to remove the wall board at least two feet above the water line. Check local building codes for specific guidance.
- Drain walls by removing the baseboards and drilling holes near the floor.
- Dry panel-type walls by pulling the bottom edge out from the studs.
- Check the interior of the wall for hidden mold.
Floors and Exterior Walls
- Remove all wet insulation: Open wall, remove wet insulation, disinfect and dry and then rebuild with water-resistant materials.
- Rigid insulation can be reinstalled after disinfecting and drying.
- Hard surfaces, porous floorings (linoleum, ceramic tile, vinyl): Vacuum or damp wipe with water and mild detergent. Scrubbing may be necessary. Then, allow to dry.
- Carpet and backing: Use a wet vacuum, reduce ambient humidity levels with dehumidifier and accelerate drying process with fans.
- Appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, cooking stoves, dishwashers, hot water heaters, washing machines and dryers contain insulation, which may harbor mold spores without visible evidence and should be discarded.
- Heating and air conditioning filters need to be changed and the system ductwork should be inspected by a professional. Unless the system is away from the flooded area and hasn’t been operated, it may have to be replaced.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
- Wear rubber gloves, protective clothing and a tight-fitting face mask when working around mold.
- Take things that were wet for 2 or more days outside.
- Things that stayed wet for 2 days have mold growing on them even if you can’t see it.Take out stuff made of cloth, unless you can wash them in hot water. Also take out stuff that can’t be cleaned easily (like leather, paper, wood, and carpet).
- Use bleach to clean mold off hard things (like floors, stoves, sinks, certain toys, countertops, flatware, plates, and tools).
- Follow these steps: Never mix bleach with ammonia or other cleaners. Wear rubber boots, rubber gloves, goggles, and N-95 mask.
- Open windows and doors to get fresh air when you use bleach.
- Mix no more than 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water.
- Wash the item with the bleach and water mixture.
- If the surface of the item is rough, scrub the surface with a stiff brush.
- Rinse the item with clean water.
- Dry the item or leave it out to dry.
- In areas where it is impractical to eliminate the moisture source, a 10 percent bleach solution can be used to keep mold growth under control.
- In areas that can be kept dry, bleach is not necessary, as mold cannot grow in the absence of moisture.
- Non-porous surfaces, such as metal, glass, solid wood, plastic ceramic, etc. may be cleaned with a non-ammonia detergent and hot water.
- Use a stiff brush on rough surface materials such as concrete.
- Use a Wet-Dry shop vacuum to remove water and to clean items such as studs or exposed wood framing.
- Disinfect all cleaned surfaces with a bleach solution (1 ? cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water). Let the solution stay on the surface for at 10 minutes before rinsing with clear water and allowing to dry.
- Porous materials, (an organic material that is able to easily absorb water) with extensive mold growth should be discarded (e.g., drywall, carpeting, paper, and ceiling tiles).
- Items such as heirloom rugs and hardwood furniture, you should contact a professional cleaner.
- Most furniture today is made of composite materials, which must be discarded.
- If an item has been wet for less than 48 hours, it may be able to be cleaned and disinfected with phenolic or pine-oil cleaner.
- Items should be monitored for several days for any fungal growth and odors ? if any mold develops, discard the item.
- Allow the wet area to dry completely (usually two to three days) before beginning to rebuild or replace the damaged items.
- Make sure to have a qualified mold inspector certify that the is no longer any mold present.
Tips recommended by FEMA.