For any homeowner, flooding is a trauma. You watch the water rise and think about all the money and memories you stand to lose as it does its damage.
On top of the water itself, though, comes another common problem: mold. Mold in a home isn’t just a money pit. It can be a health hazard as well if you don’t deal with it right away.
If you’re dealing with mold after a flood, here’s your guide on how to clean mold.
How to Clean Mold After a Flood: 6 Steps
Whether your flood happened a week ago or years ago, the best time to deal with mold is always right now. Here’s how.
1. Safety First
Before you do anything in the area with the mold, you need to take precautions. Your main concerns should be avoiding breathing in the mold and touching the mold.
If you don’t have one, get a mask before you start working. Create as much ventilation in the area as you can. Get a pair of gloves as well, and make sure you never touch the mold with your bare hands.
2. Stop the Source
The first step to treating mold is ensuring that there isn’t more mold forming during the process. You can do this by drying up every last bit of moisture in the area.
Dry up as much moisture as you can find with towels and wet/dry vacuums. You can’t assume you’ve found it all, though. At that point, it’s time to bring in some fans to dry out the area thoroughly.
We’re talking about the largest fans you can find, like industrial strength models. Let them run in the area for at least 24 hours depending on how much moisture you have in the area. This will dry up areas you can’t access, like beneath your flooring and inside your drywall.
3. Check the Damage
Before you can start really cleaning your mold, you need to find the extent of the damage. If you see or smell mold on your flooring, whether it’s pink mold, black mold, or another variety, you need to pull up part of the flooring to see if there’s mold beneath it.
The same idea applies to drywall. If you see mold on a wall, you need to cut an opening and see if there’s mold inside the wall too.
Keep in mind that when it comes to carpet, you might be better off replacing moldy carpet than trying to clean it. For drywall, you’ll need to replace any drywall that’s spongy or has a different texture due to the mold.
4. Scrub It Clean
On cleanable areas with mold, your next step is to clean it off. You can do this with a simple detergent or all-purpose cleaner.
As you do this, though, you want to protect yourself against the mold spores with a mask. If you can, try to block off the affected area from unaffected areas of your home with plastic. Of course, make sure there’s still plenty of ventilation in the cordoned-off area, though.
5. Disinfect the Areas
When you’ve cleaned off the surface mold, it’s time to disinfect and kill any remaining mold. You can do this by diluting the bleach in water.
Depending on how much mold you have, you can use anywhere from 1/4 cup to 1 1/2 cups of bleach per gallon of water. To stay safe with bleach, make sure you wear gloves because the bleach can irritate your skin.
6. Make Drywall and Flooring Repairs if Necessary
When you’re confident that all the mold is gone, it’s time to replace any unsalvageable drywall and flooring. This should be your last step, though. You don’t want to replace and then have to go back in to remove hidden mold later.
Getting a Mold-Free Home
Mold is a dangerous problem, but it can be more manageable than people realize. The key is knowing what you’re doing.
The tips above for how to clean mold can help, but if you prefer to bring in a pro, find a local mold remediation company.