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Homeowner Guide to Mold Cleanup After Water Disasters

Mar 28, 2024 | Mold Remediation, Water Damage Restoration

Cleaning up after a flood can pose health risks. You and your family should wait to re-enter your home until professionals tell you it is safe, with no structural, electrical or other hazards.

Before you start cleanup activities, contact your insurance company and take pictures of the home and your belongings. Remember – drying your home and removing water-damaged items is your most important step for preventing mold damage.

Is There a Growing Mold Problem?

Was your home flooded? If so, and you were not able to dry your home (including furniture and other items) within 24-48 hours, you should assume you have mold growth. You need to completely dry everything, clean up the mold, and make sure you don’t still have a moisture problem.

You may see or smell mold on clothing, drywall, furniture, cardboard boxes, or books, but it may also be hidden under or behind items like carpet, cushions, or walls.

 

How Molds Can Affect Your Health

Exposure to mold can lead to asthma attacks, eye and skin irritation, and allergic reactions. It can lead to severe infections in people with weakened immune systems. Avoid contaminated buildings and contaminated water as much as you can.

Flood water may have carried sewage or chemicals into your home. This could expose you or your family to viruses, bacteria, disease carriers (such as mosquitos), and parasites, as well as mold.

Go to this CDC Flood Waters or Standing Waters website to learn more about cleaning and disinfection.

By following these steps, you can protect yourself and your family from mold exposure.

Key Messages

  • Wear personal protective equipment. Wear an N-95 respirator at a minimum, goggles, and protective gloves.
  • Use portable generators carefully, outside and away from the home, to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and fires.
  • Ensure the mold cleanup is complete before reoccupying your home.

 Before You Enter Any Moldy Site

  • Protect yourself and your loved ones against hazards. People with breathing problems like asthma or who have weakened immune systems should stay away from moldy sites. Children should not take part in disaster cleanup work. Check for loose power lines or gas leaks. Make sure the electricity and gas are turned off. Look for sagging ceilings or floors or other structural problems. Watch out for wet, muddy, or slippery floors.
  • Protect your mouth and nose against breathing in mold: wear at least an N-95 respirator. If you plan to spend a lot of time removing moldy belongings or doing work like ripping out moldy drywall, wear a half-face or full-face respirator.
  • Protect your skin. Wear protective gloves (non-latex, vinyl, nitrile, or rubber). Do not touch mold or moldy items with bare hands.
  • Protect your eyes. Wear goggles that provide complete eye protection. Choose goggles designed to keep out dust and small particles. Safety glasses or goggles that have open vent holes will not protect you against dust and small particles.

After You Leave a Mold Site

  • Protect yourself and your family. Shower and change your clothes. This will help you avoid carrying mold and other hazards back to your temporary living quarters.

 Should I Do This Myself?

This job may be too difficult or dangerous for you. It may be best to get help from experienced and qualified professionals if you can. Hire a mold inspection or remediation professional certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) to inspect, repair, and restore the damaged parts of your home.

Sampling for mold is not usually recommended. Understanding the results can be difficult, and no matter what kind of mold is in your home, you need to clean it up and fix the moisture problem.

Premiere Restoration is certified by the IICRC. Premiere Restoration meets or exceeds industry standards and best practices while performing mold remediation and water damage restoration. We are also licensed contractors and can repair or rebuild water damaged homes.

 

If I Must Do This Myself, How Can I Do It Safely?

Follow these steps:

  1. Put on the personal protective equipment described above to protect your eyes, nose, mouth, and skin.
  2. Remove standing water and wet materials. Use a wet vacuum to remove water from floors, carpets, and hard surfaces. Dry your home and everything in it as quickly as you can – within 24 to 48 hours if you can.
  3. Open all doors and windows when you are working and leave as many open as is safe when you leave.
      • Open inside doors, especially closets and interior rooms, to let air flow to all areas. Take doors off their hinges if you need to.
      • Open kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanity doors; remove drawers, wipe them clean, and stack them to dry.
      • Open the attic access to let air flow to the attic. Before you open the attic door, ensure nothing falls on you.
  1. When electricity is safe to use, fans and dehumidifiers are used to remove moisture. Do not use fans if mold has already started to grow because the fans may spread the mold.
  2. Clean with water and a detergent. Remove all mold you can see. Dry right away.
  3. If you use cleaning products, do not mix cleaning products together. DO NOT mix bleach and ammonia because it can create toxic vapors.
  4. Painting or caulking over mold will not prevent mold from growing. Fix the water problem completely and clean up all the mold before you paint or caulk.
  5. Throw away items that can’t be cleaned and dried. Throw away anything wet with flood water that can’t be cleaned and dried completely within 24 to 48 hours.

Note that Premiere Restoration’s Contents Restoration Services has a state-of-the-art contents cleaning trailer, we can clean much of your damaged personal property on-site. You can watch the cleaning and restoration process and witness our entire staff’s care and respect for the content restoration process every step of the way.

Get Started Today

Personal Property Cleaning and Restoring

Fire, water, mold damage, and natural disasters and accidents can occur anytime. Act quickly to recover and restore your damaged possessions. With our state-of-the-art contents cleaning trailer, we can clean much of your damaged personal property on-site.

We provide Contents Restoration to homes and businesses in Mankato and all of Southern Minnesota, including FaribaultLake CrystalNew UlmNorth MankatoOwatonnaSaint Peter, and Waseca.