When returning to a home that has been flooded, be aware that mold may be present and may be a health risk for your family.Know how to deal safely with mold. Obtain educational materials on mold control and clean up before any cleanup to avoid recurring mold growth and potential health related problems from mold cleanup. |
If there is mold growth in your home, you should clean up the mold and fix any water problem, such as leaks in roofs, walls, or plumbing. Controlling moisture in your home is the most critical factor for preventing mold growth. If you plan to be inside the building for a while or you plan to clean up mold, you should buy an N95 mask at your local home supply store and wear it while in the building. Make certain that you follow instructions on the package for fitting the mask tightly to your face. If you go back into the building for a short time and are not cleaning up mold, you do not need to wear an N95 mask.
To remove mold growth from hard surfaces use commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water. Use a stiff brush on rough surface materials such as concrete.
If you choose to use bleach to remove mold:
Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. Mixing bleach with ammonia or other cleaning products will produce dangerous, toxic fumes Open windows and doors to provide fresh air. Wear non-porous gloves and protective eye wear. Follow recommended procedures for mold prevention and cleanup. All molds should be treated with respect.
The extent, the occupants' sensitivity, type of materials, costs and ability as well as other factors should be considered. It is best to have professionals remove mold contaminated materials and clean up.
If you must clean up items with mold yourself, use a quality HEPA filter mask (N - 95 or better), gloves, goggles, and protective clothing. (Particle filters however, do not protect against vapors and endotoxins given off by some molds. )
Brush off and clean mold and mildew growth outdoors if at all possible to prevent scattering of spores in the house. If items must be cleaned indoors, seal off the area from the remainder of the home if possible and close off vents that might circulate the spores. Create a negative pressure in the room so that spores do not spread to other rooms. Open a window and use a fan to exhaust air or dehumidifier to the outside through the room window if possible.
Items to be removed and destroyed should be covered or wrapped with heavy plastic and sealed with duct tape or placed in plastic bags and removed through the closest window or entrance to avoid scattering spores. Contact adhesive paper can also be used over an area to help contain the spores.
Use a quality vacuum cleaner with an HEPA filter to draw out more of the mold. Discard vacuum bags immediately and thoroughly clean vacuum after completing the task.
Sponge the area with detergent and water. Rinse well. Wipe with a clean, barely damp cloth. Wipe dry if possible.
If you decide a disinfectant is needed, spray with fungicide or other commercial disinfectant made for the purpose and the material. Remember that fungicides or disinfectants are classified as pesticides when they are used to kill fungus and should be used with care.
When in doubt, take it out! Remove all porous items that have been wet for more than 48 hours and that cannot be thoroughly cleaned and dried. These items can remain a source of mold growth and should be removed from the home. Porous, non cleanable items include carpeting and carpet padding, upholstery, wallpaper, drywall, floor and ceiling tiles, insulation material, some clothing, leather, paper, wood, and food. Removal and cleaning are important because even dead mold may cause allergic reactions in some people. Dry the article thoroughly and monitor the item for the next few months for signs of reappearing mold or mildew.
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