7 Expert Methods to Prevent Mold Growth After Water Damage

October 13, 2020

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Mold poses a significant health risk for both humans and pets alike. The EPA says that molds found indoors aren't typically a problem unless the mold spores land on a wet surface because moisture encourages mold to grow. How to prevent mold from water damage is something we all need to be acutely aware of after flooding happens. Once the spores take hold of saturated carpets, walls, and furniture, the mold and mildew colonies have a heyday and start growing out of control.

If you're wondering how to prevent mold from water damage, you've come to the right place. The basic answer is to prevent water damage from occurring in the first place. However, life happens, and so do floods and appliance malfunctions. The best thing you can do right from the start is to remove the water from your home and belongings using specialized water vacuums or a good old fashioned bucket and mop. 

 

mold growth after water damage

 

There are several other methods to prevent mold from growing after you've had some sort of flooding in your home, and we're going to discuss those protocols here in this article. You may also be wondering what to do if mold is behind your drywall and which products kill mold the best. We'll take you through an in-depth journey on how to effectively get rid of mold and all of the safety concerns that come along the way.

How Likely is Mold to Occur After Water Damage?

The likelihood of mold growth after water damage has occurred is relatively high. According to Cleanfax, mold growth depends on the number of time surfaces that have been exposed to moisture, the climate, and the location of the damage. Mold specialists across the country universally agree that mold can take hold within 24 to 48 hours after an area has been left damp or flooded.

Another factor is the location of the water damage. For example, if you have a leaky pipe behind a wall and don't realize there's a problem right away, you can have mold growth very quickly. In addition to moisture, mold loves the dark. There's no better place with riper conditions for a mold party than behind drywall, under a cabinet, or behind an appliance like your washing machine.

Mold can pretty much occur anywhere for any reason as long as moisture and warmth are present. Tackling water damage head-on and as quickly as possible is your first line of defense.

homeowners experiencing water damage

How Do You Prevent Mold From Water Damage?

Thankfully, there are some helpful things you can do to prevent mold from growing out of control or happening altogether. In some cases, you may not even need to call a professional to help you with the process. Let's take a look at seven ways you can stop mold growth in its tracks:

  1. Sop up the water- Immediately upon discovering standing water, moisture, or flooding, do what you can to remove the liquid. You can rent specialized water extracting vacuum for big spills and flooding, or you can use a mop and bucket. Keep in mind that if you're dealing with a sewage flood, you'll want to have a professional take on the task of removing the waste due to health and safety reasons.
  2. Remove damp rugs & carpets - Area rugs and carpets take longer to dry out than any other item. If they are left indoors, mold will likely grow beneath them. Squeeze out as much water as you can and hang the rugs outside to dry in the sun. The sunlight will dry and kill bacteria on the mats. Unfortunately, if you're dealing with a bad flood disaster, your carpet that is installed might have to be completely torn out and replaced, so mold does not grow on the floorboard beneath it or the padding.
  3. Thoroughly dry wet surfaces - Floors, furniture, walls, etc. all need to be meticulously dried and kept free from moisture to prevent mold growth. This can be done with dry cloths and rags. Any moisture that the vacuum couldn't remove should be wiped away, ASAP.
  4. Keep the area dry - This is so important! Just because the site looks dry doesn't mean that it is dry. Water and moisture like to hide in floorboards, wood, and other porous surfaces. Your best bet would be to run a dehumidifier in the area where flooding occurred to continue removing moisture from the air and surfaces.
  5. Sanitize with mold-fighting cleaners - Once you've gotten rid of all the water and moisture, it is a good idea to continue your fight against mold growth with products that are formulated to kill those nasty, sneaky colonies. Take note that mold and bacteria-fighting cleaners aren't always the most effective as they are not industrial strength products. Calling a specialist like 24/7 Water Damage Restoration Dallas ensures the right products will be used.
  6. Immediately clean visible mold - Should you happen to see mold already growing (remember, it has a tendency to grow fast), make every effort that you can to get rid of it before it spreads. Using a solution of 10 parts bleach to 90 parts, water is an excellent mold killer. Again, you may want to call a mold remediation technician for professional help.
  7. Use paint with mildewcide - The chances of moisture coming into contact with surfaces is high in areas like your bathroom or kitchen. A great way to prevent mold from happening is to use a paint containing a mildewcide.

There are plenty of other ways to keep mold at bay after water damage occurs, but these are our top seven go-to resources. Consulting with a professional is always advisable should your water damage and mold problem by major.

mold removal process

What Kills Mold After a Flood?

Dealing with mold is a serious problem because it destroys property and can be detrimental to the health of your family. We highly suggest calling a professional mold remediator like 24/7 Water Damage Restoration Dallas for expert help. A company like that has the equipment and cleaners to remove mold from your area thoroughly. They also have the proper personal protection gear to ensure they are safe from mold, mildew, and raw sewage, should it be present.

With that being said, if you feel your situation warrants a DIY attempt, we're here to make that as easy as possible for you. Killing mold can usually successfully be done by the following:

  • Creating a 10 percent bleach to 90 percent water solution and allowing it to sit on moldy areas for 10 minutes before rinsing with fresh water
  • Using essential oils like tea tree or grapefruit mixed with water in a spray bottle to eradicate mold. We suggest adding a bit of baking soda to the mix as a binder for the oils
  • Basic white vinegar is a quick and easy way to treat small spots of mold
  • Hydrogen peroxide isn't just for cleaning up cuts and scrapes! This stop stops mold from growing 
  • Baking soda (activated with vinegar) makes an excellent paste that can easily clean mold out of grout, cracks, and crevices

Now, these tips are not foolproof and typically only work where there is a small bit of mold growth after water damage. If you have a lot of molds to take care of, your best bet is to call the professionals. Sometimes, DIY measures make mold grow even worse than before, and nobody has time for such shenanigans.

wet wood in need of mold restoration

What Can I Spray On Wet Wood to Prevent Mold?

This is an excellent question because wood, particularly hardwood floors, is delicate and does not like the presence of moisture, to begin with. You do not want to completely douse your wood floors with loads of cleaning solutions because not only will it warp your flooring; it can actually cause mold to grow.

When it comes to wood floors or any wood surfaces for that matter, prevention is key. Keep things like potted plants, mattresses (warm bodies on a wood floor is a recipe for disaster over time), and fish tanks up off the wood flooring and take special precautions to avoid leaks.

What Happens if Mold is Already On My Wood Surface?

Unfortunately, accidents happen, and wood surfaces get wet. The Instructables website gives some great insight on dealing with mold on wood floors. For example, they recommend wiping up the mold with diluted bleach or vinegar, sanding the floor, removing the dust, and refinishing the floor.

Phew! That sounds labor-intensive. Personally? We'd just call the mold removal experts of 24/7 Water Damage Restoration Dallas for some professional help dealing with mold on wood surfaces.

What Happens if Mold is Behind My Drywall?

Having mold behind your drywall is a serious issue that needs to be addressed as it can cause significant health problems. The EPA has this to say about mold and your health, "Allergic reactions to mold are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people. Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold. Research on mold and health effects is ongoing".

The most effective way to discover whether there is mold behind your drywall is to cut a hole in your wall and look around with a flashlight. Now, if you're like us, that idea doesn't sound so wise, especially if you aren't a contractor. We suggest calling a contractor before you go cutting craters into your drywall.

Another way to detect the presence of mold behind your walls is by doing a sniff test. Mold is stinky, so you will probably be able to smell it coming from air vents. Also, check for mold behind the walls of moist areas like your bathroom or laundry room. These are hot spots for mold and mildew to grow.

Removing mold from the outside of your walls can be done with any of the aforementioned cleaning protocols. However, when the mold lurks behind your drywall, you're going to need some help to A) actually get behind the wall and B) effectively and safely clean it out. 24/7 Water Damage Restoration Dallas is more than equipped to take on moisture and mold behind drywall problems.

expert mold removal and restoration company

Now That We've Covered All of Our Moldy Bases…

You should be well-equipped to stop mold from invading your home or office after water damage has occurred. Remember, prevention is vital. Take adequate steps to safe-proof your space from flooding. Check all appliances, pipes, and windows for leaks and fix any problems that you find.

Keep in mind that if mold should occur, there is no reason to panic. Small mold problems can easily be rectified using DIY cleaners and methods, while broader issues will require you to call a professional. Either option is optimal and will result in getting that pesky mold out of your life.

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