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Flood cleanup: dealing with mold





SOUTH DAKOTA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
CONTACT: Bill Chalcraft, (605) 773-3361          
 
Flood cleanup: dealing with mold
 
PIERRE, S.D. – As flood-affected homeowners begin the cleanup process, the Department of Health offers the following basic information about dealing with mold.
Is mold a hazard after water damage? Molds can produce toxins. There is always a little mold everywhere – in the air and on many surfaces. However, when mold spores drop on places where there is excessive moisture, especially from flooding, they will attach themselves to many things and grow. Many building materials such as wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, and others support mold growth.
Who is most at risk in reacting to molds? People who have allergies or compromised immune systems are most at risk. Symptoms may include minor irritations such as nasal stuffiness or eye irritation but can also include severe reactions such as fever, shortness of breath or infections.
How do I disinfect my home? Fully disinfecting a home after it is flooded is critical, particularly if small children will be crawling on or touching affected surfaces. Clean walls, hard-surfaced floors and household surfaces with soap and water, then sanitize with a solution of 1 cup of bleach to 5 gallons of water. To clean actual mold growth from hard surfaces such as floors or countertops, wash with a solution of 1 cup bleach to 1 gallon water, rinse with clean water and allow to air dry. Ventilate the area while using any cleaning products.Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners – mixing bleach with cleaning products produces dangerous, toxic fumes.
Mattresses, upholstered furniture or other items that cannot be washed in hot water or dry cleaned should be air-dried in the sun and sprayed with disinfectant. Steam-clean carpets and wear boots and rubber gloves while cleaning. Not everything can be safely cleaned — some building materials damaged by prolonged exposure to moisture may have to be thrown out.
More information on flood cleanup is available at doh.sd.gov/flood/.
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Cleaning and Sanitizing With Bleach after the Flood
 
First, wash surfaces with soap and warm, clean water to remove dirt and debris.
Next, sanitize surfaces with household bleach.
·         Never mix bleach with ammonia or any other cleaner.
·         Wear rubber or other non-porous boots, gloves, and eye protection.
·         Try not to breathe in product fumes. If using products indoors, open windows and doors to allow fresh air to enter.
·         Use regular unscented 5%—6% household bleach and follow the instructions in the chart below.
 
Cleaning and sanitizing with bleach
Area or Item to be Cleaned
Amount of Bleach and
Water to Mix
Cleaning Steps
 
Clean and Sanitize Food Cans and Surfaces
Food surfaces that may have touched flood water [Examples: countertops, plates] Note: Throw
away wooden cutting boards, baby bottle nipples, and pacifiers
 
1 teaspoon
bleach
 
1 gallon
water
 
1. Wash with soap and warm, clean water.
2. Rinse with clean water.
3. Sanitize using a mixture of 1 teaspoon
of bleach per 1 gallon of clean water.
4. Allow to air dry.
Food cans that are not bulging, open, or damaged
 
1 cup
bleach
 
5 gallons
water
 
1. Remove can labels.
2. Wash cans with soap and warm, clean water.
3. Dip cans in mixture of 1 cup of bleach per 5 gallons of water.
4. Allow to air dry.
5. Re–label cans with a permanent marker.
Clean and Sanitize Other Household Surfaces and Items
Surfaces that do not soak up water and that may have touched floodwater [Examples: floors, stoves, sinks, certain toys,
countertops, flatware, plates, tools]
 
1 cup
bleach
 
5 gallons
water
 
1. Clean surface with soap and warm, clean water.
2. Rinse with clean water.
3. Sanitize using a mixture of 1 cup of
bleach to 5 gallons of water.
4. Allow to air dry.
Clean Mold Growth Off Hard Surfaces
Mold growth on hard surfaces [Examples: floors, stoves, sinks,
certain toys, countertops,
flatware, plates, and tools]
 
1 cup
bleach
 
1 gallon
water
 
1. Mix 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water.
2. Wash surfaces with the bleach mixture.
3. If surfaces are rough, scrub them with a stiff brush.
4. Rinse surfaces with clean water.
5. Allow to air dry.