A guide on how to remove mold in your home after flood
After flood, most homeowners are left dealing with a mold infested home. Such a condition is especially dangerous for people with breathing problem caused by asthma or allergies. But high level of mold can also affect healthy people. Some of the symptoms of mold exposure include shortness of breath, wheezing, flu like aches and pains, sore throats and fatigue.
The first thing you should do after mold infestation is assess the mold area. If it covers more than 100sq feet or 10 foot by 10 foot area, you should consider hiring a trained professional to clean it up. But if the mold area is less than 100 sq feet, in most cases, you can handle the job yourself.
If you choose to hire a contractor to do the cleanup, ensure that he has experience in cleaning up mold. Also, be sure to check licensing, insurance, references and confirm if the contractors follows the outlined EPA guide on mold remediation.
The basic steps on mold cleanup and mold removal.
· Remove any sources of water
This an in important step of mold damage remediation. Basically, mold cannot grow without water, therefore, eliminating all the sources of moisture will help prevent their further growth. Remember to look for even sources of water that are not related to flood.
· Dry all the wet materials
You should do this immediately after the floodwater recedes as water socked household items and building materials can be a significant source of moisture hence further promoting the growth of mold.
Remove all the wet items from the building and dry them as soon as possible. In case of severe moisture problem, use dehumidifiers and fans. Also, move the wet items away from the floors and walls of the house.
If there is visible mold on the fan, do not operate it to avoid spreading the mold spores.
· Dispose all porous items with mold
If mold is present on porous item such as wood, ceiling tile, carpet, plaster, insulation, paper products and sheet rock, you should remove these items and throw them away.
· Clean non porous items
Mold also grows on materials such as metal, solid wood, hard plastic, concrete or even glass. Fortunately you do not have to dispose these items as you can remove the mold with proper cleaning.
However, keep in mind that even dead mold can cause health problems, therefore, the objective is to capture and remove all the mold contamination. After cleaning the items, allow them to dry before using them.
· Cleaning heavily contaminated items
For greatly contaminated items, use a HEPA vacuum to remove as much mold as possible.
After HEPA vacuuming, scrub the contaminated surfaces using hot water and non-ammonia detergent or soap.
Then, use a sponge to collect the excess cleaning water, rinse the item or surface with clean water and dry everything.
· Disinfect the items or surfaces
After removing all the mold from the contaminated area, you should disinfect all items and surfaces in order to kill any remaining mold.
Mix a half cup bleach per gallon of water and apply on the surfaces that had mold before cleaning. You can with a garden sprayer, spray bottle, sponge or any other suitable method to apply the bleach solution.
When done, use a vacuum to collect the run off of the bleach solution but do not rinse the surfaces or items you have treated. Allow the bleach solution to dry on the surface.