Water – it gives us life – but it can also take life and ruin everything in its path. Many child care providers, neighbors and friends suffered flooding in their homes and businesses this year from snow melts and torrential rains. But water damage can also occur from broken pipes or water mains, malfunctioning washing machines or city sewer backups. No matter how the water enters our homes, there is still clean up. Water damage can quickly lead to mold, which posses serious health risks.
Microorganisms that turn into mold colonies grow quickly, within 24-48 hours of water exposure. In buildings, mold is most found in wood, drywall, ceiling tiles, carpets and insulation.
To Prevent Mold
- Open buildings during the day if less humid outside.
- Remove soaked porous or absorbent materials, ceiling tiles, paper, furniture, drywall, carpet and insulation.
- Make sure it’s safe to use electricity BEFORE plugging in fans, dehumidifiers or shop vacs.
To Kill Mold
- Wear personal protective equipment at least an N95 respirator, goggles, and protective gloves.
- The American Red Cross and FEMA recommend these cleaning products.
- First choice – Commercial mold and mildew removers
- Second choice – Washing soda or tri-sodium phosphate (5 tablespoons per gallon of water)
- Third choice – Solution of bleach and water (one-quarter cup of laundry bleach per gallon of water)
- Never mix bleach with ammonia or any other cleaners.
Besides the possibility of mold cleanup, there are other factors to consider.
- Smell for gas and look for damaged power lines.
- Turn off water and power – unless you would have to do so while standing in water.
- Check that your running water is safe to drink and to use for clean up.
- Flush toilets before use to check for clogs from mud or debris.
- Throw out all exposed food, beverages, medicine and canned goods.
- Disinfect dishes and other items with soap and hot water, throw out all soft plastics.
- Wipe down wooden items, and if possible, take elsewhere to dry out.
- Preserve items such as books, documents and photographs in re-sealable bags and freeze them to be cleaned later.
For more information, check the following websites: