Cleaning Up after a Hurricane: Mold Restoration

Hurricane season has indeed been active this summer and early fall, and there are still six weeks left in the season. While Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia are just beginning to rebuild after the recent Hurricane Michael, Tropical Storm Tara is nearing Mexico and a new depression may be forming in the Caribbean.

In addition to massive cleanup and demolition, many homeowners will return home to find their houses have suffered flood damage. Unfortunately, once the flood waters recede, there will be dirt, debris, sludge, sewage, and mold. These fungi can be extremely damaging to your health; therefore, they must be properly cleaned up. Here is a look at the process.

Don Your Safety Gear

In addition to mold, which has spores that are harmful to breathe in, flood waters have most likely also left behind other substances, particularly bacteria, such as E. coli. Before entering your home, you will need a mask. A simple paper or surgical mask is not enough, however. You will need to purchase a respirator that is rated N-95 or higher. The number "95" denotes a mask that blocks at least 95 percent of tiny particulates in the air. You will also need waterproof boots, form-fitting eye goggles that tightly adhere to the face, rubber gloves, a thick long-sleeved shirt, and heavy-duty work pants or jeans as well as a disposable hazmat suit.

Get the Garbage Out

Once you have donned your personal protection, your first task is to remove all garbage from the home. Open all doors and windows to provide maximum ventilation, then get pitching. Anything that will not be able to be cleaned, disinfected, and thoroughly dried within the first day or two should be removed from the home. This could be things like carpeting, area rugs, upholstered furniture, mattresses, box springs, and anything else that was flooded. Don't forget to take pictures to file with your insurance company. Unfortunately, part of getting the garbage out may also require shoveling out massive amounts of mud as well.

Start Cleaning

Every surface needs to be scrubbed with a powerful detergent. This includes metal and wooden furniture, flooring, tile, fixtures, walls, ceilings, moldings, appliances, and more. Once you have scrubbed everything, you will need to go back over it all with a bleach solution of 1 cup of bleach for every gallon of water.

Dry Everything

Use ceiling fans, dehumidifiers, and box fans in the windows to draw out as much moisture as possible, as quickly as possible. Mold and bacteria both thrive in moist environments, so your home needs to be dried as quickly as possible.

Consider Calling a Professional

If mold restoration sounds like a lot of work, that's because it is. Many people also don't have the tools and equipment necessary to do the job correctly. Additionally, children, people with lung disorders such as asthma or emphysema, those with compromised immune systems, or those undergoing cancer therapies should not enter a home with mold, even with protective gear. Plus, once you finish ripping out and cleaning everything, you will most likely still need a contractor to come in and repair the damage. For most people, calling a professional mold restoration service like Disaster Professionals makes the most sense.