How Do You Prevent Mold From Forming After a Flood?

Understand how to prevent mold from growing is vital for your health. Naturally, mold is everywhere. It does not pose a threat to wildlife nor people. The problem comes when it is insulated.

Unfortunately, that happens to be the most common type of occurrence as mold thrives in moist environments that are dark. Since basements are enclosed, one little drop of moisture is all that is needed to create mold. At The Fire Restoration Team, we are well equipped to clean up.

Dampness & Darkness Are Two Characteristics Mold Have in Common With Your Basement

Residential properties can be of particular concern when comes to mold or mildew growth after a flood. These organisms will find any source of moisture, such as pipes, windows. What can be especially problematic is when there is a hurricane. These natural disasters not only cause floods but can also create severe damage to your home. The roof is particularly susceptible because, without it, you have nothing. Also, it isn’t enough for it to be intact as a simple leak penetrating the roof can have your house’s interior be a perfect place for the mold and mildew to grow.  From there, it is just a matter of time before you would need to evacuate your home as it can spread to cardboard, ceiling tiles, and wooden structures holding up a lot of homes in America.

Mold vs Mildew

Just in case you didn’t know, mildew and mold aren’t synonymous. This fungi substance is a multicellular filaments that encompass all types that grow (what is later discussed) as hyphae. Mildew refers to specific types of fungi that grow linearly in covered area.

Heed These Warnings That Are Backed By Science

Exposing yourself to an environment that is filled with mold is nothing but detrimental to your health. According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), there was a study that linked respiratory issues with significant fungi exposure in enclosed environments. What was especially troublesome was that many of these respiratory symptoms and led to chronic problems in the upper tract of the respiratory system in young people that didn’t have preexisting conditions.

For those of you with older folks living with you or people with comorbidities, it can be especially dreadful when a flood comes and leaves behind a mold problem. Thanks to research done by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), it can be even lethal if the problem isn’t remediated.

How to Identify It

How to Clean Up After a Flood to Prevent Fungi From Even Gaining a Foothold?

There is no doubt that nothing can be done when a flood comes. When it comes to mold, you have complete control over that outcome. Every time there is a flood, always have your property inspected by a remediation contractor. We at The Fire Restoration team will search every square inch to make sure your home or business is mold-free with our state-of-the-art moisture meters, air movers, dehumidifiers, and air scrubbers.

Of course, all of this is handled after the floodwater is drained from your property with devices that were just mentioned followed by either inspecting, installing, or upgrading the sump pump or installing foundational vents. Lastly, we use our dry vacuum to extract the water.

It has been suggested by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that prolonging the flood cleanup process can certainly allow the moisture to develop mold and thereby exposing and destroying all items (including sensitive ones like wooden products, cloth, and furniture. If any of your belongings’ materials contain pores where liquid can be absorbed, make sure to discard immediately as mold can also be trapped inside too. Nevertheless, any metallic surfaces and belongings made out of glass can be cleaned and used without any worry of a resurgence in fungi growth.

How To Prevent Mold After A Flood?

The hard part is removing the mold. On the other hand, you have to disinfect as much as you can by doing the following. This is all recommended by the CDC:

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Always Protect Yourself From Exposure

  • Although mold on nonliving things, there are cases where a fungus can spread to infect people’s skin if no precaution is taken place. Athlete’s Foot is a common infection that occurs on the skin as a result of a bacterial or fungal growth that thrives on a living thing.
  • You are going to want to have gloves, protective eyewear, and possibly an N95 mask or any mouth cover that has an air filter and valve.
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Disinfecting Nonporous Surfaces After a Flood

  • Besides having the protective gear, make sure to clean all surfaces (even if they haven’t been exposed to moisture) with soap and detergent.
  • Once completed, then go ahead and use any EPA approved disinfecting product and follow directions.
  • If necessary try to use bleach on certain surfaces
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For Porous Surfaces

  • contamination on items like rugs and drapes should be cleaned ASAP with cleaning sprays like Clorox. Many products will be again approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. It is a good approval label to keep an “eye out” when shopping.
  • Dry the materials completely as an moisture left behind can cause mold to grow again, especially when it come to porous materials that easily capture moisture such as sponges.
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What About Electronic Devices

  • Everybody has one of these. Just wipe down the phone, tablet, TVs, and computers with a wipe that is 70% alcohol.
  • Clean thoroughly especially when it comes to older devices as water can mess up the configuration of your electronics.

Let’s Talk About The Biocontaminants That Form

Viruses

After this pandemic, everyone thinks they know what this organism is and what harm it can do. However, there is more to understanding this pathogen. As an organism that reproduces via host cells (e.g. people when it comes to the flu), viruses are responsible for the death of millions of people throughout history. In a flood, these viruses can latch on and grow with mold in a damp environment. These can be transmitted by the air or through contaminated surfaces. The latter case is the most relevant when it comes to mold. 

Fungi

These organisms are kind of like plants except that they do not produce chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is basically pigment that is found on a plant that absorbs sunlight to then convert it to energy to produce their own food. Since fungi do not have this, they need to absorb energy through other means. Some require feeding off of other organisms in what is called a parasitic manner. Others feed on nonliving things; they are otherwise known as saprophytic fungi. Mold commonly comes in this form as it requires a chain of cells to link together to grow. The ones you need to watch for when it comes to your property are the mesophilic fungi as they grow wherever there is moisture. Even though we are discussing fungi, much the mold compounds seen in properties are a form of multicellular fungi that contains filament like hyphae, which will be discussed later. 

How Does Fungi Grow?

Firstly, there is the spore stage. This is the period where the organism releases these bodies that allow the fungi to survive in an environment in which otherwise would be impossible to live in. Here is thought you may dread. Next time you breathe in air, you may be breathing in mold spores.

Secondly, the stage known as the hyphae is when these pill-shaped structures form start to form, thereby creating the first forms of fungus.

Third, Mycelium occurs where the mold grows more visibly as a result of the host material being exposed to the fungus. In other words, it is a much more established stage of growth that can not only discolor and weaken the host material. This is where respiratory problems can develop in the occupants of the home. Therefore, this is the time where you need to call remediation services as soon as possible. 

Complications like allergic reactions develop since harmful chemicals like mycotoxin can be produced by the fungi in the mold (varies from Aspergillus to Penicillium and black mold).

Conclusion

A flooded property is nothing but a nightmare. Cleaning up the mess can be at least a headache that ends up costing an “arm and leg.” Therefore, you want to be careful when handling the problem. The CDC has all of the information necessary to resolve this issue yourself. However, keep in mind that your health is at risk as you are handling chemicals (potentially toxic to the body) to eradicate fungi that also happen to be capable of causing you or your loved ones harm. At the end of the day, the safest way to handle mold damage after a flood is to count on The Fire Restoration Team as we are affordable and due-diligent.

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