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Checklist: Stop Mold After a Flood

Posted on May 02, 2014

Flooding is one of the most damaging natural forces that a homeowner or business owner can deal with. Not only can it produce mold and mildew quickly, but also ruins pretty much everything it touches.

Water enters absolutely everywhere and can also bring in sewage, garbage and other nasty infections. In fact, flood water  is automatically deemed a hazardous liquid and needs to be treated as such. 

Here are a few useful tips to cleaning up after a flood. always seek the advice of a professional if you have specific questions regarding flood cleanup and mold remediation. Also, take pictures. lots and lots of pictures. Insurance companies need pictures, especially if adjusters can get there on time. 

  1. Wear protective clothing. As previously stated, flood waters contain VERY nasty things. It may just seem like 
    "rain water" or river water but it isn't. In most situations sewage and other nasty things have entered the water. Wear clothing, gloves, boots that can protect you from the water and what lies beneath it. 
  2. Wear protective breathing apparatus. mold, mildew and other airborne contaminants start growing very quickly in flood situations. Wear appropriate breathing apparatus to stop infections.  
  3. Remove the water as quickly as possible. This goes without saying, but the longer the water stands, the more it penetrates into areas of your house that can take literally forever to dry. Vacuum it out as quickly as possible with a wet vac
  4. Throw it all away. Once water is removed, cut everything out of the house up to at least 3 feet above the water line. Water seeps quickly and can actually run vertically. Have qualified plumbers and electricians in to survey the pipes and conduits to make sure water has not risen and seeped upwards. Bag the debris and dispose of properly in accordance with local rules/laws. Mold will start growing quickly so get it away from your property. 
  5. Kill mold, mildew and bacteria. After sectioning off the house or business with plastic wrap, apply a mold and mildew cleaner and killer to all surfaces of the flooded area. Use only EPA registered cleaners that are labelled for specific use and meet the required specifications for killing mold, mildew and other contaminants. Remember, mold and mildew aren't your only problems with flood water. Sewage may have been brought in and so you need to kill the bacteria that came with it. Use pumps prayers to apply the cleaner and make sure to let it sit and activate. This is generally a minimum of 10 minutes but may be more. Consult the label. Don't forget HVAC ducts. 

  6. Start the drying process. Start drying after you'e applied the mold, mildew and bacterial cleaner and killer. If you do it before, many of the spores may become airborne and cause additional damage. Use commercial grade dryers, plus heat, to dry studs, concrete and other building materials. Don't rush this, spend time to make sure all components are very dry. Consider borrowing a tool to measure moisture. 
  7. Kill and clean again. Apply another layer of mold and mildew remover and cleaner. Consider fogging it this time with a fogger to make sure it enters all cracks and crevices of the impacted area. Let it dry. Again, don't forget your HVAC ducts which can become a hiding ground for mold and mildew. 
  8. Apply an EPA registered mold inhibitor. this is much different to a mold killer. Mild inhibitors will work to stop the growth of mold and mildew on surfaces. Apply using a pump sprayer or fogger. Only use an EPA registered product that is specifically labeled for use for mold and mildew inhibiting. Also, make sure it's safe to use in inhabited areas. Many are toxic to people and pets. 

 

Once this process is complete, planning and execution of rebuilding can properly start. Unless you follow a program like this, mold and mildew will start to grow and can cause more damage to your home or business than the initial flood damages. You will be eager to rebuild, but these important steps will help you complete rebuilding your life and business without future problems.