Mold Cleanup in Home and Office
and how to get rid of mold
In the wake of a flash flood, many homes and offices become flooded and as much as you worry about the damaged property, there is something else to worry about; mold which thrives in damp environments. Mold poses a threat to people with breathing problems linked to asthma or allergies. Healthy people are not exempted, and they are also at high risk of health complications. There are different symptoms of mold exposure such as sore throats, shortness of breath, fatigue, wheezing, and flu-like pains and aches.
Apart from the mold, bacteria thrive in damp environments. In most cases, you’d hear people asking, is mold a bacteria? The simple answer to that question is that both are pathogens but very different. During flooding, the water that gets in your house comes from anywhere and if it’s soaked with sewage, bacteria could be the main problem and may cause skin or dangerous gastrointestinal infections. These pathogens can cause irreversible damage to your home but before that, you should stop them from getting hold of your home. Seeking professional contractor help is very important when relocating or building a home as they will give you the options of well-designed house that will protect you and your property during floods. But if the floods get into your house, there’s a way to stop mold, and we will find out how.
How Long Does It Take for Mold to Grow? – within 24 to 48 hours
Water damage and mold are intertwined and when your interiors become invaded with flooding, mold growth will follow. But how long does it take for mold to grow? Well, mold spread quickly and under ideal conditions such as correct humidity level and temperature, they germinate and grow within 24 to 48 hours. Whereas spores start to colonize within 3 to 12 days, they will become visible within 18 to 21 days. However, this doesn’t mean you start cleaning up after three weeks after floods. NO! The longer you wait, the more damage the flood will cause and the faster you clean up, the lower the risk of mold growth.
How to Cleanup Mold? – ventilate, move, disinfect
First things first, if your home has been affected by sewage, it is recommendable to seek assistance from professional mold remediation service particularly if the cooling and heating systems have been affected. When doing the cleaning yourself, use fresh bleach as household bleach tends to lose their strength very fast. Besides, avoid mixing bleach/bleach containing products with any products containing ammonia because the mixture may create toxic fumes that will cause health problems such as respiratory problems. As a rule of thumb, it’s important to learn how to cleanup mold so that the next time such uncertainty happen, you’ll have the basics on how to get over it and here are key tips to remember.
Given that mold can’t thrive without moisture, open the windows and doors and also use dehumidifiers and fans. However, if you realize that mold has already started growing, avoid using the fan as it will only make mold spores to spread.
2. Dry and Discard
Collect porous items such as wood, carpet, and paper products that have absorbed water for more than 24 hours and remove them. Well, some people would ask the need to remove such items but the simple answer to that question is that these items could be a source of mold growth and once you remove them, you allow them to dry and it becomes easy to clean them. If cleaning seems impossible, just discard them. Non-porous items such as metal, hard plastic, concrete, or solid wood can be saved when properly cleaned.
Bleach excellently eliminates every species of indoor mold but it’s not recommendable because it is only effective on non-porous materials but not porous materials. Besides, it very corrosive and can be toxic to the environment as well as the body. However, if you want to use bleach to clean up mold, mix as recommended by CDC which is one cup of bleach in one gallon of water. There are other solutions to use in cleaning up mold after the flood, and they include; tea tree oil, vinegar, and borax.
- Borax –
- Vinegar –
- Tea Tree Oil –
Wear Protective Gear
Without a doubt, the hurricane comes when we least expect and if you don’t have money to pay a professional to do the cleaning, don’t feel left out as you can do it by yourself. However, you should have the right gear as recommended by the EPA; wear the right shoes, long pants, and long-sleeved shirt and protect your nose, eyes, and hands. You can protect yourself from mold and mold spores using the following equipment; Respirator, Googles, and Gloves.
- Wear a Respirator – As much as you’d love to use a handkerchief or dust mask when cleaning up mold, they will not offer the protection you need because they allow mold to pass through. Given that your health is your best investment, head to your nearest hardware or order online an N-95 respirator that goes for $12-$25. There are various N-95 respirators available and you should choose the one that pleases you. As a rule of thumb, ensure it fits you properly.
- Wear Goggles – When doing clean up after the flood, you should wear goggles to prevent mold or mold spores from getting in your eyes. The goggles should not have ventilation holes.
- Wear Gloves – It is advisable to have long gloves as it prevents your hands from touching mold or moldy items.
Bottom Line in Preventing and Cleaning up Mold
If it was our wish, nobody would want to experience a flood in their homes. However, floods are a natural disaster that come when we least expect. Well, the flood might not cause severe damage to your home but it can cause mold outbreak which can be detrimental to the eyes and can lead to future health complications. Therefore, when your home floods, follow the above steps to prevent mold outbreak and if you feel you can’t handle it, seek professional help; after all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.