With the increasing frequency of floods, it is essential to know what damage they cause and what you can do to fix it. You might face a new challenge upon returning to your house after it has flooded: mold. So, how long does mold from a flood last?
The microorganisms essential for mold growth are always present around us. Therefore, mold will start to grow within 24 to 48 hours of exposure to moisture. It will continue to overgrow if moisture levels remain high. Consequently, it will continue to grow until necessary steps get taken to eradicate it.
Mold often grows on wood, paper products, cardboard, and ceiling tiles. However, if favorable conditions persist, you may even find it growing in dust, wallpaper, paints, carpets, and other fabrics. Necessary steps need to be taken to prevent mold after flooding. Keep on reading to find out what they are!
How To Prevent Mold After Floods?
We’ve listed some helpful tips that can assist you in taking the necessary precautions against mold growth.
Dry The Affected Area
The best way to prevent mold from continuous growth after flooding is to ensure the affected area is kept dry. To do this, you must begin by opening up the building if it is less humid outside. Open the windows and doors during the day and keep them closed at night.
Remove Wet Items
Additionally, you must remove all the debris following the flood and wet items. In doing so, you should eliminate any soaked, porous, or absorbent materials you can find in your house. These absorbent materials may include your home’s ceiling tiles, papers, and wet insulation.
Furthermore, if you cannot get rid of water-saturated carpets immediately, you should still remove water from them. Using high-power vacuum cleaners can speed up this process.
Clean and Disinfect
After removing debris, you should start cleaning the mold-infected areas with disinfectants and sanitizers. You must thoroughly scrub hard surfaces, including tiles and wood, with soap, water, and a bristle brush.
Ensure that the cleaned surfaces are dry. You may use fans at high speeds or dryers to help make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible. This helps speed up the evaporation process, so surfaces are dried up of moisture promptly. However, if mold has already grown, fans may cause more problems by spreading it.
Reducing the moisture content within your house is vital in preventing mold. Dehumidifiers can reduce moisture and keep things dried up. For smaller spaces, even a home or office dehumidifier may be sufficient.
However, for larger areas, you may need assistance from industrial or commercial dehumidifiers to reduce the moisture in your house.
Protective Gear For Mold Cleanup
If mold has infected your house after a flood, you may be tempted to start cleaning it independently without professional help. Doing so will require you to wear the necessary safety gear, which is as follows:
Use an N-95 respirator made of rubber or plastic with removable cartridges that stop mold spores from entering the mask. This must be your exact size for it to work effectively.
Wearing goggles when cleaning mold will prevent mold or mold spores from entering your eyes. So, be sure to wear ones without ventilation holes.
Avoid touching mold or infected items with your bare hands. If you are using a mild detergent, ordinary rubber gloves work fine. However, you should wear gloves made from natural rubber, such as PVC, if you use a disinfectant or a chlorine beach.
Signs of a Mold Problem
If you notice some unusual stains on the walls in your home, they could be signs of a bigger mold problem. Some common ways to tell regular and mold stains apart are their musty smell, cracking of the material they grow in, bleach lightening the colors in less than two minutes and a water source nearby.
How Should Mold Be Cleaned?
Your safety should be the top priority whenever you enter your house after a flood. You must begin by assessing the structural damage to your home before cleaning to get rid of the mold. Having done that, we will start discussing how mold can be cleaned.
People are very quick to start using bleach to clean up the mold. Bleaches can be highly effective in killing mold on nonporous surfaces such as tiles. However, they do not work sufficiently well on porous surfaces like drywall. Here, using bleach may instead encourage more mold growth.
If you use bleach to kill the mold on nonporous surfaces in your house, it is advised to maintain the ratio of one cup of household bleach to one gallon of water. Having made the mixture, it is also essential to open the windows and doors to ensure ventilation while cleaning the mold.
Moreover, you should strictly avoid using bleach to clean air conditioning systems. This is because bleach is a corrosive material and can cause damage to the goods. Also, bleach should never be mixed with ammonia, as that would release toxic fumes.
You may need to hire professional help to assist in the mold-cleanup process. However, this is dependent on how large the infected area is. If the site is less than 10 square feet, you can easily clean and kill the mold following the aforementioned safety guidelines.
In contrast, suppose there has been significant water damage leading to high mold growth covering more than 10 square feet of area. In that case, you should consider getting assistance from a professional mold remediation company. They will thoroughly assess the mold damage before deciding how to clean it.
Throwing Away Infected Material
Sometimes, flood water gets deeply absorbed into materials if action is not taken quickly. In such a case, discarding those items is more productive than cleaning them. These items include carpets, pillows, stuffed animals, and mattresses because they absorb water quickly.
Mold can build up immediately after a flood if moisture persists and will remain a problem until the area becomes dry. You can prevent mold growth in several ways, including using dehumidifiers. However, if some regions still get infected, you can eliminate mold using bleach or hiring professional help.