how to prevent mold after a flood

If your home has been struck by a flood, there’s one main thing you need to remember: act fast. We know how stressful such a disaster can be on you and your family, but it’s absolutely important to start the cleaning and repair process as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

Here’s a quick checklist from selectblindscanada to help you through the initial process:

  • Be absolutely sure water has receded out of your home before entering.
  • Take photos and/or video of your home for insurance claims. Be sure to collect all damaged furniture and mark the height of the water line on your walls.
  • Contact your insurance companies to start your claims.
  • Have professionals verify that your electrical, plumbing, gas, and HVAC systems are safe to operate, or better yet turned off so that entry is safe.
  • Be sure to have the right safety equipment while cleaning your home. Use waders, waterproof boots, rubber gloves, a N95 respirator mask, and eye protection as you move around your home.

Post Flood Cleaning and Mold Prevention

First of all, before you do any work on your home, call your insurance company to make sure whatever you do won’t interfere with your claim process.

To prevent mold from growing, start drying out your home immediately. Mold can set in within 24-48 hours after water enters your home. The faster you start removing moisture, the easier it will be to prevent or remove mold growth.

Cleaning Your Home After a Flood in 12 Steps

  1. Open doors and windows to start drying your home. Use fans to keep the air flowing and if it’s safe to do so, turn on the air conditioning. However, if mold is already present, do not run the air conditioning.
  2. Remove all your belongings from your home. Throw out any absorbent items such as books or furniture that have come into contact with flood water. Some items like wood furniture could be restored, but it’s often not worth it. The same goes for blinds, lighting fixture etc
  3. Glass, plastic and metal objects and other items made of hardened or nonporous materials can often be cleaned, disinfected and reused.
  4. Remove any contaminated mud and debris before they dry out and harden.
  5. Remove all doors, baseboards and trim that came in contact with flood waters.
  6. Remove all carpet or wood flooring, including wood subfloor if present.
  7. Remove any remaining standing water from floors with a wet/dry vacuum.
  8. Remove drywall that has come in contact with flood waters. Be sure to remove drywall from out of reach spaces like closets, cabinets behind toilets and behind bathtubs.
  9. Remove insulation at the same height as the drywall.
  10. Rinse off remaining wood framing and floors with a hose to remove debris or visible mold. Be careful not to get any remaining drywall wet.
  11. After your home has dried out, clean all hard surfaces, including exposed studs and slab with hot water and non-ammonia dish soap. Then disinfect with a 10 percent bleach solution. Remember, never mix ammonia and bleach!
  12. Once you’re done removing all contaminated materials and cleaning your home, leave exposed studs to fully dry for several days to a few weeks. You can speed up this process with fans and dehumidifiers. Moisture meters can also be used to check when wood is dry enough to finally begin rebuilding your home.