KDHE Offers Advice on Post-Flood Mold Cleanup
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is providing recommendations for controlling mold. After storms and flooding, it is important for property owners to clean up in a way that eliminates mold growth as much as possible. Exposure to mold can lead to allergic reactions, asthma and other problems with breathing. Mold can also damage wood and other parts of a building if left untreated.
After flooding, flooded structures should be dried thoroughly and quickly .Mold spores are almost everywhere and will grow on sheetrock, carpets, furniture and other materials in the presence of moisture. Here are some things to know when cleaning up after flooding:
- Wear rubber boots, rubber gloves and goggles.
- KDHE recommends wearing non-venting goggles to protect eyes from exposure to mold spores. However, any goggles are better than none.
- Wear a tight-fitting N95 respirator available through hardware stores or suppliers to help protect your respiratory system. If N95 respirators are not available, any mask is better than none.
- Floors and other hard surfaces exposed to clean rainwater should be wiped with a mild soapy solution.
- Rinse and thoroughly dry the area using fans and dehumidifiers.
- Wash clothing and other fabric items with laundry soap and thoroughly dry them.
- Hard, non-porous surfaces may be cleaned with a dilute bleach solution made by mixing no more than 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water.
- Just spraying with bleach or other mold retardant, or simply painting over the mold, only masks the problem and does not stop growth.
- Never mix bleach with ammonia or other cleaners.
- Open windows and doors to get fresh air when using bleach.
- Wash the item with the bleach and water mixture.
- If the surface of the item is rough, scrub the surface with a stiff brush.
- Rinse the item with clean water.
- Dry the item or leave it outdoors in full sun to dry.
- Ceiling tiles, wallboard, carpet, upholstered furniture and other porous materials exposed to clean rain water should be thoroughly dried within 48 hours. After that, mold cannot be adequately removed, and the items will need to be discarded. Flood water is contaminated water, and porous items exposed to flood water should be discarded.
- If mold covers a small area, you might be able to eliminate it yourself. However, if mold growth is over a large area, or if it has grown into surfaces such as walls or floors, you might need to contact a professional who specializes in mold removal.
For additional information, contact Joyce Barrett at email@example.com; or Scott Weir at 785-291-3272, firstname.lastname@example.org; or link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mold removal fact sheet at www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/pdf/flyer-get-rid-of-mold.pdf or theEnvironmental Protection Agency (EPA) Web site at www.epa.gov/mold/index.html.