After your home floods, one of the biggest concerns is mold. Once mold starts growing, it does not like to stop, and you really need to be vigilant and thorough in your clean-up efforts in order to get rid of it. You should not move back into your home until you know it is mold-free, since mold can cause nausea, respiratory difficulties, and other serious illnesses. In most cases, it is best to hire professionals for post-flood mold cleanup, but if you choose to go through the process yourself, here are a few tips that can help.
Get rid of wet and moldy items
If there are any unattached items that are wet and moldy, just throw them away. If you leave these in the home, they will give off spores that may recolonize the moldy surfaces soon after you clean them. Throw away moldy blankets, pillows, clothing, and sofas. Remember to take photos of the items you do throw away so you can report the loss to your homeowners insurance company. If you have flood insurance, your policy should reimburse you for the ruined items.
Start a dehumidifier
As soon as possible, plug in a dehumidifier. Visit a local rental place if you do not have a dehumidifier of your own; most rental places rent out large, highly effective ones. The dehumidifier will remove moisture from the air so that the surfaces you're cleaning can actually dry out. If the area is not drying, the mold will just keep coming back. So if possible, let the dehumidifier run for a day before you start cleaning up the mold, and then keep it running during and after your cleanup attempts.
Don't overdo the bleach
Bleach is very effective against mold and is the best solution in most cases. However, you don't need as much of it as you might assume, and using too much can not only damage your materials but also irritate your skin and respiratory tract. Use no more than 1 cup of bleach per gallon of water. Even a half cup is more than enough to kill the mold. Wear gloves, goggles, and a face mask while wiping down your moldy surfaces with bleach so you're not forced to end your efforts early due to discomfort.
If you follow the post-flood cleanup tips above, you should have better luck getting rid of mold once and for all. Reach out to a mold removal professional if you need assistance.