Water damage is difficult to clean up because water can sink into the building materials and linger for days if it’s not dried properly. The lingering moisture can compromise the structural integrity of the structures and weaken the walls and floors. One of the most troublesome consequences of water damage is mold. If you aren’t careful and don’t apply preventive measures immediately after the water is cleared, you will have to deal with mold infestation.
How Does Mold Occur?
In order to prevent mold, you need to understand how it happens. Mold and mildew are types of fungi that grow in damp and dark places. They’re a common consequence of water damage because excessive moisture can create an ideal environment for them to grow in. After a flood or a massive leak, water sinks into the porous building materials and the excess moisture or humidity in the air doesn’t allow the water to evaporate completely.
The damp and porous building material has enough organic compounds to feed mold and encourage its growth. The growth can happen within 24 to 48 hours of the water disaster so you have a very small window to prevent mold in your house. If the moisture is allowed to linger for this period of time, you will surely see mold.
How to Prevent Mold Growth?
There are many steps you can take immediately after the water damage to discourage mold growth. It’s wise to hire a professional to handle the task because they’ll have the right tools and equipment to get the job done quickly and efficiently. Here are the steps you need to take to get the best results:
1. Remove the Water
The first step is to remove all the flood water from the area. You can rent specialized water vacuums to draw the water away or use the traditional bucket to clear the area. If the water is from a natural flood, sewer backup, and other such disasters, don’t touch it without adequate protective clear. Contaminated water will have dangerous chemicals and pathogens that can harm your health and cause diseases. Clean water from burst pipes and leakages are safe to clear without the use of special equipment.
2. Remove Damp Rugs and Carpets
Damp rugs and carpets take longer to dry than less porous building materials. It’s a good idea to remove them from the flooded area and steam clean them to eliminate all contaminants and germs. You can dry these carpets and rugs in the sunlight in order to minimize the chances of mold infestations. If you don’t remove the rugs and carpets, mold will grow underneath them and spread to the surrounding areas.
3. Dry the Wet Surfaces
Once you’ve remove the carpets and rugs, dry all the wet surfaces as much as you can because you need to work on preventing moisture. You can use a dry rag or mop to soak up the water that the vacuum couldn’t remove.You can also rent industrial sized fans to remove all excess moisture from the room and make sure it dries quickly. As mentioned before, mold can develop in 24 to 48 hours in the right conditions so if you eliminate the excess moisture quickly, you’ll minimize the possibility of mold.
4. Keep the Surfaces and Room Dry
The room’s humidity should remain below 50% in order to keep mold at bay. You can use the dehumidifier to achieve this result. If the weather outside is sunny and warm, open all windows and air your home as you use the dehumidifier. This will ensure your room remains dry after all the excess water is removed. You need to maintain this dryness for a few days after the water damage disaster in order to prevent mold growth.
5. Sanitize All Surfaces
Once all the excess moisture is removed, you should clean and sanitize all sources. You can purchase over-the-counter cleaning solutions that will eliminate both bacteria and the possibility of mold. You can find these solutions in your local hardware store. You can also clean small pockets of infestations with bleach.
If you follow these steps, you should be able to prevent mold growth. Unfortunately, preventive measures don’t always work so if you still see signs of mold growth, you should immediately call a professional to clear it. DIY mold clearing solutions aren’t very effective and can cause health problems. Professional cleaning will eliminate mold from your environment completely so you can breathe the indoor air without concern.