by Lee Flynn
Floods are a common sight in low-lying areas and regions near bulging riverbeds. If your cabin has experienced a flood, water damage is inevitable. Whether the floodwaters were only one-inch high or several feet, you must take certain steps to combat mold growth. Mold spreads quickly on damp items, and it can quickly sicken residents in some cases. Learn how to stop post-water damage mold by following these basic steps.
Thoroughly Dry the Property
According to FEMA, it can take several days for a home to completely dry out. When the floodwaters recede, open up all of your windows and doors. You need a strong breeze to move through the home as the drying process begins. Rent heaters or fans because they can help the natural drying process. You cannot begin any other cleaning procedures without dry conditions. If any water remains on the floor, sweep it outside with a broom or large squeegee tool. Mold spores are always in the air, and they seek out any wet area to grow and reproduce.
Don’t Hesitate to Discard Porous Items
A flood affects the entire household. Your material items may be soaked through, from favorite throw pillows to comfortable reclining chairs. When it comes to porous items, including fabrics, wood and cellulose-based items, they usually need to be discarded. Drying upholstered couches is never entirely effective. There is always some dampness leftover within the frame. As a result, mold grows and possibly sickens your loved ones. The mold source is often hard to find when it’s deep within a piece of furniture. Stuffed animals, blankets and couches can easily support hidden mold growth if they’re kept in the home too. You need to think of your health first, and discard these items.
Remove Damaged Flooring and Drywall
Two major items to discard entirely before mold grows are flooring and drywall. Carpets, rugs and even hardwood flooring should be removed. Inspect the subfloor below and allow it to dry before you install new flooring. The concrete subfloor could use some airing out under flood circumstances.
Your drywall that was soaked by the floodwaters must be cut out and discarded. This material is a perfect breeding ground for mold when it’s damp. Pull furniture out from the walls, so that you can see the drywall damage. Go into your kitchen, and open up all of the cabinet doors. It’s possible that the drywall behind your emergency food supply is damaged too. Become a detective in your home, and you can pinpoint all of the damp drywall for removal.
Inspect Wall Cavities
After you remove the drywall, you have an instant view of the wall cavity. Use a flashlight, and look for any water damage within this space. Although building studs are wood, they’re dense fibers that can be cleaned and disinfected if they’re damp. In fact, you may want to remove more drywall to see farther into the cavity. Mold can easily grow in these hidden crevices. Pay careful attention to any dampness in this area and dry it out whenever possible.
Disinfect Every Surface
Mold cannot grow where the surface has been disinfected. Enhance your whole-house and grout cleaning strategies by adding bleach to water. Ideally, use one gallon of water mixed with 1-1/2 cups of bleach. Wipe down every surface that was affected by the floodwaters. You may have already used basic soap on these areas, but detergents don’t kill off all of the mold spores. Bleach is the best way to stop mold growth. Be careful about your disinfectant mixture, however. Never use bleach and ammonia together. Powerful, noxious fumes are the result of this mixture.
You have a choice of performing this cleaning on your own or hiring a professional company. In fact, you may have flood insurance that covers some of the costs of repair and cleanup processes. Carefully consider your situation, and take rapid action after the floodwaters recede. Mold depends on moisture and time to spread exponentially.