Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Parish President Natalie Robottom urges residents to keep in mind that during flood cleanup, 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. Below are some tips on how to remove mold:
1. Remove standing water and dry out the structure as soon as you can.
• Open doors and windows.
• Mop up or pump out any standing water.
• Use fans and dehumidifiers to remove moisture after cleaning. Be careful not to blow mold around while drying -- point fans to blow outside.
2. Throw away moldy materials that can't be cleaned. When in doubt, throw it out!
• Throw away items that can't be fully cleaned and dried.
• Throw away moldy materials that soak up water, such as carpet, carpet padding, mattresses, pillows, and upholstered furniture. Mold can grow in the small spaces and cracks of these items, and be very hard to remove.
• You can wash linens, clothes, stuffed toys, and towels in warm water with laundry detergent. However, in some cases, mold will stain these materials.
• Remove all wet sheetrock, paneling, drywall, wallboards, fiberglass, or cellulose insulation and ceiling tiles. Drywall and wallboard will be wet above the water line or the damp area because of water "wicking" up the walls. Throw away these materials.
• If there is more than 10 square feet of mold in your house, think about using a professional mold clean-up contractor.
3. Clean all moldy items that have hard surfaces.
• Scrub mold off hard surfaces with a stiff brush using detergent (soap) and water or a mixture of no more than 1 cup of household bleach per 1 gallon of water. Examples of hard surfaces include wall studs, tile floors, countertops, metal objects, plastic, glass, and other hard materials that won't soak up water. Concrete and bricks may also be cleaned in this way.
• If you don't know how to clean an item, or if the item is expensive or of sentimental value, you may wish to call a specialist. Some items such as books or papers should be thrown away if you can't clean or restore them.