Safely Cleaning Your Flooded Home: The Truth About Mold

With the Baton Rouge area still in clean up mode after the recent flooding, Acadian House has received many calls and questions about demolition and mold remediation. After a house takes on water, special care needs to be taken to remove mold safely and effectively. In humid climates, if materials stay wet longer than a day or more mold will begin to grow. The longer mold grows, the greater the health hazard and the harder it is to control.  Some people are much more sensitive to mold than others, but long-term or heavy exposure is unhealthy for anyone.

Be sure to clean and disinfect the right way. Surface mold can be effectively cleaned from nonporous materials such as hard plastic, concrete, glass and metal; solid wood can also be cleaned since mold cannot penetrate solid wood but grows only on the surface. While many disinfectants, including bleach, can kill surface mold they do not prevent regrowth of new colonies. Cleaning should remove, not just kill, the mold, because dead spores can still cause health problems.

cleaning up after the flood in Baton Rouge

Cleaning up after the flooding in Baton Rouge

Because it’s a common misconception that bleach alone kills mold, here are a few cleaning tips on how to get rid of mold while cleaning your flooded home:

  • Wash dirty or moldy materials with non-phosphate all-purpose cleaners, because phosphate residue is mold food.
  • Rough surfaces may need to be scrubbed. Rinse, but avoid pressure spray that can force water into materials.
  • On colorfast, non-metal surfaces, you can disinfect with a solution of 1 cup borax to 1 gallon hot water. This treatment will also resist termites, decay and mold.
  • Other mold inhibitors, such as latex zinc paints and fungicides, may help inhibit mold regrowth during drying. Do NOT apply sealants that can impair drying. Framing materials that are difficult to clean or remove (such as “blackboard,” OSB sheathing, rough surfaces, etc.) can be painted with latex paint to “encapsulate” any remaining mold and prevent its release to the air.
  • After everything is dry, use a HEPA filtered vacuum (not a regular vacuum) to remove dust and mold residue, if possible.
  • Continue to remain on “Mold Alert!” Continue looking for signs of moisture or new mold growth.
  • If mold returns, repeat cleaning and, if possible, use speed drying equipment and moisture meters. Regrowth may signal that the material was not dry enough or should be removed.

 

Professional mold remediation contractors may test before and after cleanup to measure the cleanup’s effectiveness. If you hire a contractor to remove mold, seek a licensed mold remediation company with special training and equipment such as HEPA vacuums and dehumidifiers. Get the cost, methods and steps to be used in writing.  To locate a licensed mold remediation company, use the contractor search function located on the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors website at www.lacontractor.org. You can also download the free “LA Contractor” mobile app available on the website or call LSLBC at 1-800-256-1392.   Below are a few local businesses you may want to contact.

Dugas Pest Control, Wood Preservation Treatment – 888.606.9282 – dugaspestcontrol.com

Bernhard Normand Construction – 225-755-8110

US Restoration LLC – 866-417-1769 –