After the storm and heavy rains subside, your problems may just be beginning. Water damage leads to mold if left unchecked. Mold can pose a severe health risk. If you experience extensive damage and mold growth, consider calling a reputable firm like JD Restoration to help you. However, you may have to do the work yourself. Here is how to eliminate mold residue from storm damage.
- Wear Protective Gear. You can get exposed to mold by breathing and through skin contact. As such, it is vital that you wear protective gear when handling mold. Use gloves, goggles, and NIOSH-approved respirator rated N95 or higher. You can choose a respirator that has valves to ease your breathing. With the protective gear on, you can now begin to take an inventory of the damage. Compile a room-by-room inventory of the damaged and missing property. Include the manufactures’ names, dates, places of purchase, and prices. You can also take photographs of the damages for insurance purposes.
- Isolate and Ventilate. Cleaning up mold colonies can lead to the release of spores into the air. As such, seal off the mold-infested areas from the rest of the house. Open all the windows and avoid running the central heating and cooling system during clean-up. Use tape over air grilles and drape plastic in stairwells if other levels are dry. You can also put a box fan in a window to blow out and exhaust mold-filled air.
- Moldy Porous Materials. Remove all the moldy or sewage-contaminated materials, put them in a plastic bag and discard. This process helps to avoid the spread of mold spores. Remove all the flooded carpeting, upholstery, fabrics, and mattresses. You can discard these items or have them cleaned professionally, but never reuse flooded padding. Even if your wardrobe appears dry, open-cell foam insulation and cut wall covering above the wet level. If your plaster and non-paper-faced walls have dried and are in good condition, clean and sanitize them to salvage them.
- Clean and Disinfect. You can clean surface mold from non-porous materials such as glass, metal, and solid wood. Use non-phosphate detergents when cleaning to ensure that you also kill the mold. Follow the directions on your detergent’s container, and do not mix bleach with ammonia acids. Disinfectants will kill the molds, but they cannot prevent re-growth. If the surfaces are rough, scrub them with a stiff brush and rinse with clean water. Also, consider borate treatment. Adding borate treatment to wood framing provides resistance to termites and decay and inhibits mold growth.
- Dry. After removing the mold from surfaces, cleaned, and disinfected, ensure you do all you can to dry the wet materials quickly. Close the windows and run the air conditioning, fans, and use a dehumidifier. Professional water damage drying contractors who deal in water damage restoration have special equipment that can dry materials promptly. If you have no power, keep the windows open. Ensure that the subfloors, slabs, and wall framing are completely dry before replacing insulation, wallboard, and flooring.
With these tips, you can eliminate mold residue and keep your property safe.