Previously, we used this space to define mold and how it can possibly affect your health and the well-being of the more vulnerable among us.
Now that we understand it and how it can impact our daily lives, the next step is to learn how to remove mold and contain the contamination.
Mold will grow in your house after any storm or accident that involves flooding. And if not treated properly and removed, it can make you sick. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, certain steps should be carefully followed when removing mold from your home, including: Take things that were wet for two or more days outside—things that stayed wet for two days have mold growing on them, even if you can’t see it; take out stuff made of cloth, unless you can wash them in hot water; also take out stuff that can’t be cleaned easily (i.e. leather, paper, wood, and carpet); use bleach to clean mold off hard things (like floors, stoves, sinks, certain toys, counter tops, flatware, plates, and tools.)
Additionally, while cleaning: never mix bleach with ammonia or other cleaners; wear rubber boots, rubber gloves, goggles, and an N-95 mask; open windows and doors to get fresh air when you use bleach; mix no more than one cup of bleach in one gallon of water; wash the item with the bleach and water mixture; if the surface of the item is rough, scrub the surface with a stiff brush; rinse the item with clean water; dry the item or leave it out to dry.
During a water damage cleanup, according to the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection Office of Air and Radiation, the indoor air quality in your home or office may appear to be the least of your problems. However, failure to remove contaminated materials and to reduce moisture and humidity can present serious long-term health risks. Standing water and wet materials are a breeding ground for microorganisms, such as viruses, bacteria, and mold. They can cause disease, trigger allergic reactions, and continue to damage materials long after the flood.
Excess moisture in the home is an indoor air quality concern for three reasons, according to the DEP: Microorganisms brought into the home may present a health hazard. These organisms can penetrate deep into soaked, porous materials and later be released into air or water. Coming in contact with air or water that contains these organisms can make you sick. Also, high humidity and moist materials provide ideal environments for the excessive growth of microorganisms that are always present in the home. This may result in additional health concerns such as allergic reactions. And long-term increases in humidity in the home can also foster the growth of dust mites. Dust mites are a major cause of allergic reactions and asthma.
It’s also very important to always make sure you know exactly what type, and the extent of contamination you are dealing with prior to trying to resolve a mold issue on your own. In many cases, what is observed visually in a home or office is often the least of the problem, with much of a contamination occurring behind the walls where they are not visible to the naked eye. Prior to attempting to remove a contamination on your own, it’s always advisable to seek out the consultation of a professional mold inspecting and air quality testing company that is not involved in any mold removal or air cleaning efforts. This allows for conflict of interest free results geared towards your specific needs with unbiased, scientific analysis of where, how much and what type of mold might be present within your environment.