Even the thought of dealing with water damage mold is frightening, but in actuality, mold is naturally present in our environment and plays an important role in our ecosystem. For example, did you know that mold plays a green role in the environment? It breaks down organic matter and recycles it to serve other purposes. When mold reproduces, it gives off airborne microscopic spores. Although not visible, these tiny mold spores are present in the air you breath - whether you’re in your living room or walking at the park. Such mold spores normally don’t present a problem until they land on a damp surface where they feed off the material and reproduce, causing water damage mold to develop. It’s important to dry any surfaces or items within 48 hours of becoming wet or damp, as mold often develops within 48 to 72 hours.
How to Prevent Water Damage Mold
Water damage mold develops as a result of flooding, a leak nearby or excessive moisture in the air. Therefore, to prevent mold from growing, you need to eliminate the damp areas in your home. For example, the following precautions can help you prevent water damage mold:
- Look for plumbing leaks.
- Repair or seal off any leaks in your home.
- Provide adequate ventilation.
- Clean up any damp spots as soon as possible.
- Keep your HVAC drip pans clean.
- Make sure your indoor humidity remains below 60 percent, according to the Victoriana Magazine’s website.
Water Damage Mold Removal
Molds can grow on various types of surfaces and materials, such as wood, carpets and paper. Even natural materials, such as leather and fabrics, can foster water damage mold growth. The removal process depends on the type of mold and the extent of the water damage.
For instance, although mold can often aggravate allergies, cause headaches and trigger asthma symptoms, once you walk away from the affected area, your symptoms normally go away. On the other hand, black mold can pose serious health risks. Regardless of the type of water damage mold, however, it’s a good idea to take the same precautions when removing mold - wear gloves, a respirator and goggles. Take the following steps to remove water damage mold:
- Seal off the affected area from the rest of your home. Close any ventilation ducts. Open a window in the affected room.
- Place all the affected items in a mold-free area, preferably outside or in the garage.
- Discard all moldy trash. Make sure to tie off the bag to prevent mold spores from spreading.
- Scrub all hard surfaces with warm water and a mild detergent. Laundry detergent will work, according to the Washington State Department of Health's website. Let the surface dry. Make a solution consisting of one gallon of water and ¼ cup of bleach. Wipe the surface, and wait at least 20 minutes. To prevent future mold growth, make a borate-based detergent and water solution. Wash the surface with the solution. Do not rinse the surface.
- Wash any exposed items such as clothing and bedding. Vacuum the floors in the affected room.
- Wash or wipe items that do not absorb water, such as ceramic, wood, glass, metal or plastic items, with a solution of lukewarm water and laundry detergent.
- Discard items that absorb water but are not washable, such as sofas and beds.
- Remove and replace any affected sheetrock and insulation. Avoid painting over the water damage mold. The mold will continue to grow and cause the paint to peel.
- Inspect the affected area regularly to make sure that water damage mold does not return.
Although cleaning water damage mold may appear daunting, you can often save your possessions, providing that the water damage does not involve contaminated water. Remember to scrub all hard surfaces, wash clothing and bedding and discard items that absorb water but are not washable. Don’t forget to inspect the affected area regularly to make sure that the mold has not returned.
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