Cleaning up after a flood can pose health risks. You and your family should wait to re-enter your home until professionals tell you it is safe, with no structural, electrical or other hazards.
Before you start cleanup activities, contact your insurance company and take pictures of the home and your belongings. Remember – drying your home and removing water damage items is your most important step for preventing mold damage.
Is There a Problem?
Was your home flooded? If so, and you were not able to dry your home (including furniture and other items) within 24-48 hours, you should assume you have mold growth. You need to completely dry everything, clean up the mold, and make sure you don’t still have a moisture problem.
You may see or smell mold on clothing, drywall, furniture, cardboard boxes, or books, but it may also be hidden under or behind items like carpet, cushions, or walls.
Mold Basics: How Molds Can Affect Your Health
Exposure to mold can lead to asthma attacks, eye and skin irritation, and allergic reactions. It can lead to severe infections in people with weakened immune systems. Avoid contaminated buildings and contaminated water as much as you can.
Flood water damage may have carried sewage or chemicals into your home. This could expose you or your family to viruses, bacteria, disease carriers (such as mosquitos), and parasites, as well as mold.
You can protect yourself and your family from mold exposure by following these steps.
Should I Do This Myself?
This job may be too difficult or dangerous for you. It may be best to get help from experienced and qualified professionals if you can. Hire a mold inspection or remediation professional affiliated with or certified by the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), or American Council for Accredited Certification (ACAC) to inspect, repair, and restore the damaged parts of your home. Your state also may regulate mold remediation.
Sampling for mold is not usually recommended. Understanding the results can be difficult, and no matter what kind of mold is in your home, you need to clean it up and fix the moisture problem.