Water causes mold to grow in some building materials within as little as 48 hours. Building materials, like the backside of dry wall or carpet and padding, can grow mold and bacteria, while ceramic tile and concrete floors cannot. Because mold grows quickly, it is important to repair the source of the water leak immediately and remove all moldy building materials.
What to Clean
- Non-absorbent materials, like ceramic tile and plastics
- Semi-absorbent material, like wood and concrete, if they are structurally sound
- Valuable items, such as picture albums or books, may possibly be restored by a professional
What to Throw Out
- Absorbent materials like wallboard (with more than a small area of mold growth)
- Wallboard not dried after being wet for 48 hours should be removed at least 1 foot beyond the visual water line.
- Ceiling tiles
How to Clean
- Use a soap or detergent solution
- Use the gentlest cleaning method possible that effectively removes the mold in order to limit the amount of dust created
- Immediately dry cleaned materials
- Vacuum the cleaned materials with a high-efficiency particulate (HEPA) air cleaner to remove difficult-to-see mold particles.
Disinfectants, Gases, Vapor-phase, or Fogged Biocides
- Do not use disinfectants unless the water damage is due to sewage.
If disinfectants are used:
- Take additional care to protect workers and occupants from chemical splash and vapors
- They must be registered for use by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for that purpose.
- Any antimicrobial products used in a heating, ventilating, or air conditioning (HVAC) system must be EPA-registered specifically for that use.
- Using gaseous, vapor-phase, or fogged biocides for remediation of mold can pose health concerns for people in the building and for people returning to the treated area.
- The effectiveness of gaseous, vapor-phase, or fogged biocides for remediation does not address the possible health concerns from the presence of the remaining Viable vs. Non-viable Mold.