Prevent Mold After Water Damage
The sudden buildup of water from a flood or leak can cause severe household damage. It can ruin prized possessions, damage structural components (walls, floors, etc.) and much, much more. Even worse is the fact that water buildup creates the perfect breeding ground for mold — a nasty, disgusting fungus that can permanently ruin carpets, floors, furniture and pretty much every single thing in your home.
If your home unfortunately becomes affected with mold, you will inevitably need the services of a professional water restoration company. You might be able to remove some of it via bleach, vinegar or ammonia, but there’s just no way you’ll be able to adequately treat everything. We’re talking about the mold inside your walls, the mold on your carpets and the mold stuck in grouts.
However, there are steps you can take to at least minimize mold growth, if not get rid of it entirely, from some portions of your home. Our goal today is to review these steps.
Remove Dry Items
You first must remove all dry items from your home. Take no risks. Mold spreads quickly, so if an item looks like it hasn’t been affected, take it outside, put it in your car or even send it to a storage facility.
Get Rid Of Water
Next, you need to get rid of all the water in your home. By the way, you should have already turned off both the electricity and water supply. Regardless, here are a few ways for getting rid of the water:
- Use old-fashioned towels, mops and buckets to soak up and remove the water. This is a painstaking method that can take forever upon forever, but it will work, assuming of course the remaining water levels aren’t that extraordinarily high.
- If you have a wet/dry vac handy, use it! If possible, use a really long extension cord so that you can tap into one of your neighbor’s outlets. Just be careful, because you obviously don’t want to electrocute yourself.
- Take advantage of a full-fledged, industrial-grade sump pump. This is the easiest and most effective solution for getting rid of boatloads of water. Unfortunately, it’s almost the most expensive, as well as the hardest to get hold of.
Getting rid of water is a must, but so is drying your home. Obviously, you need to open every window and run some fans. The goal is to get good, old-fashioned natural air flowing throughout your home. However, to fully dry your home (and this means walls, ducts, floors, etc.), you need to use an industrial-grade dehumidifier.
An industrial-grade dehumidifier will, over a period of time, suck all the moisture out of your home. It takes a while to work, but it penetrates permeable surfaces like the inside walls and whatnot. It is in fact the only surefire way to dry out your home. Unfortunately, a dehumidifier costs at least $2000. This is why it would be in your best interest to instead hire a water restoration company to do the work for you.
Disinfect, Disinfect, Disinfect
All you can do from this point on is simply disinfect as many items and surfaces as possible. Common disinfectants to consider using are included below:
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Baking Soda
- Tea Tree Oil
- Grapefruit Seed Extract
This will weaken the mold and even kill some of it, but it won’t permanently remove it.
Seek Out A Professional
Like we said from the beginning, you will eventually need to reach out to a professional restoration entity. They possess the tools to do real mold identification and removal, i.e., moisture meters, humidity gauges, borescopes, dry ice blasters and HEPA vacuums, to name a few.
Professionals also better understand the risks associated with mold. Question for you. Do you have an oxygen respirator? How about gloves? How about goggles? How about an impervious suit? Why are we asking these questions? Because breathing in just a few mold spores can lead to serious health risks.
The bottom line is that the most you can do is minimize mold growth as you wait for the professionals to arrive. The actual mold removal should always be left to the professionals!