Tips to Help You Clean Up Your Home After a Flood Disaster

It is important to clean up your home after a flooding, as mold can begin to grow if it is not completely dried. Mold poses a threat to your family's health and s not to be handled lightly. Here are some instructions to help you clean up areas in your home after water damage.

Mold Clean-Up

When there is mold growing on surfaces in your home, it is important to clean the mold from them and remove and discard items that cannot be cleaned. Many surfaces that can't be thoroughly cleaned and dried can regrow mold soon after and your mold problem can spread throughout your house.

Drywall: When a portion of your walls have become saturated with water, drywall cannot be thoroughly cleaned and dried to remove the potential for mold growth. Drywall is made of porous plaster and absorbs the moisture, creating the perfect environment for mold growth. Scrubbing drywall will cause the drywall to disintegrate, so it is best to remove it and replace it with new materials.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, if your walls have mold growth on less than ten square feet, you can clean up the mold by yourself and not have to hire a professional mold remediation company. Cut out the moldy portion of your walls with a utility knife and place them into trash bags, which you can secure closed. Dispose of the bagged moldy drywall in your outside trash can for local pick-up.

Carpet and Padding: Carpeting and the padding beneath it are both items that are difficult to fully clean mold and mold spores from. Both of these items need to be removed and bagged for disposal when they contain mold growth. 

Wood: Wood is a bit different for handling mold growth clean-up. Many wood surfaces in your home, such as flooring, furniture, and wall trim have been finished or painted. The finish on these surfaces creates a protective barrier on most wood, which makes it difficult and even impossible for mold spores to penetrate into the wood.

When you encounter mold growth on a wood surface, spray the mold with white vinegar and allow it to sit for one hour. During this time, the vinegar will kill the mold spores. The vinegar also saturates the mold spores, preventing them from becoming airborne during the clean-up process. Breathing in mold spores is a main way that mold can get into your body and cause adverse health.

After an hour, wipe up the mold growth with a wet cleaning rag, which you can rinse out and reuse to continue cleaning up other areas of mold. Be sure to discard the rag when you are finished cleaning with it, or wash it in your clothes washer with bleach and dry it in a hot dryer to kill any remaining mold spores.

Mold Stain Removal

Mold that has begun to grow on unpainted and unfinished wood surfaces can grow into the grain of the wood and cause discoloration to appear. Wood is a porous substance and can allow the roots of mold spores to become intertwined with the wood fibers.

After you have wiped away any surface mold, try spraying the surface with straight vinegar, then sanding the surface of the wood to remove the stain. If the mold stain has penetrated more deeply into the wood than sanding will remedy, you will need to use a cleaning solution that can penetrate into the wood.

Using only a bleach solution will not soak into the wood and remain on its surface, so you will need a surfactant to allow the solution to penetrate into the wood and kill the mold spore roots. In this situation, a dishwashing detergent, such as Finish or Cascade, makes a good surfactant.

To mix a cleaning solution to penetrate into the wood, combine one part dishwashing detergent to ten parts bleach and twenty parts warm water. Use a scrubby sponge or a bristled brush to apply it into the wood and allow it to air dry.

Use these tips to help you clean up your home after a flood. Click here for more info about recovering after a flood.