After a particularly strong storm, you find that your basement is flooded with water. You call a professional flood restoration specialist, but they are busy because of the storm. They cannot come to your house until the next day—or even the day after. While you wait, a danger lurks in your basement: mold.
So what can you do while you wait for the professionals to arrive? Get cleaning! Here are five tips to help prevent mold from developing—or spreading—after flooding:
1. Remove Porous Items
Several items in the home that are porous can begin to develop mold quickly. In fact, mold can begin to develop and spread within the first 24-hours of exposure to water. To prevent the growth and spreading of mold, you must act quickly.
Start by removing wood and upholstered furniture—and other items with upholstery or wood. You can move these items to a clean and dry room and wait for them to dry. But if you aren't a fan of the object and it isn't important to you, it is best to eliminate the item and toss it. If the flooded room has carpeting, you should also work quickly to dry it—or better yet, remove it.
2. Clean Salvageable Items
All non-porous items can usually be salvaged after a flood. If you want to save any of the items affected by the water, remove them from the room and place them in a dry and well-ventilated area. Wear protective clothing, such as rubber gloves and a breathing mask, and start cleaning the affected items. Use dish detergent or heavily diluted bleach to clean each item and let it air dry. If you want to speed up the drying process, consider using fans or even a dehumidifier.
3. Disinfect the Affected Area
Once the salvageable items have been removed and cleaned, begin to disinfect the affected room. Again, use a heavily diluted bleach and water mixture to kill any mold spores. Wear gloves and apply it to all hard surfaces: walls, flooring, plastic or metal materials, doors, windows, etc. While you are cleaning the affected area, try to dry it out. Open the windows, turn on fans, or crank up the heat help speed the drying process.
4. Wash Clothing and Fabrics
Isolate any clothing and fabrics that have been submerged in the floodwaters and wash them—make sure you wash them separately from your other belongings. Use a hot water cycle and your standard laundry detergent. Dry with the dryer or let air dry and place in a clean, dry room when finished.
5. Discard Items That Cannot be Cleaned
Sometimes, there are items that just cannot be cleaned and salvaged after a flood. Common items include wallboards, fiberglass, and other construction materials. If these items and building materials are suffering from water damage, simply remove them and get them replaced. Although doing so may cost more, it will save your home—and your health—from any potential mold issues.
Preventing mold after a flood requires a lot of hard work and dedication. If a professional cannot come to your aid immediately, begin the process yourself—just make sure you wear protective clothing.