Water Damage >> Mold Mitigation

If there has been a lot of water damage, and/or mold growth covers more than 10 square feet, consult EPA's Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings. Although focused on schools and commercial buildings, this Mold Mitigation document is applicable to other building types. If you choose to hire a contractor (or other professional service provider) to do the cleanup, make sure the contractor has experience cleaning up mold.

  1. Check references and ask the Mold Mitigation contractor to follow the recommendations in EPA's Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, the guidelines of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygenists (ACGIH), or other guidelines from professional or government organizations. If you suspect that the heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) system may be contaminated with mold (it is part of an identified moisture problem, for instance, or there is mold near the intake to the system), consult before taking further action. Do not run the HVAC system if you know or suspect that it is contaminated with mold - it could spread mold throughout the building.
  2. If the Mold Mitigation and/or mold damage was caused by sewage or other contaminated water, then call in a professional who has experience cleaning and fixing buildings damaged by contaminated water. If you have health concerns, consult a health professional before starting cleanup. The tips and techniques presented in this section will help you clean up your mold problem. Professional cleaners or remediators may use methods not covered in this publication. Please note that mold may cause staining and cosmetic Mold Mitigation. It may not be possible to clean an item so that its original appearance is restored.
  3. Mold growing on the underside of a plastic lawn chair in an area where rainwater drips through and deposits organic material. Click on the image for a larger version. Mold growing on a piece of ceiling tile. Fix plumbing leaks and other water problems as soon as possible. Dry all Mold Mitigation items completely. Scrub mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water, and dry completely. Absorbent or porous materials, such as ceiling tiles and carpet, may have to be thrown away if they become moldy. Mold can grow on or fill in the empty spaces and crevices of porous materials, so the mold may be difficult or impossible to remove completely.
  4. Avoid exposing yourself or others to mold (see discussions: what to wear when cleaning mold and hidden mold. Do not paint or caulk moldy surfaces. Clean up the mold and dry the surfaces before painting. Paint applied over moldy surfaces is likely to peel. If you are unsure about how to clean an Mold Mitigation item, or if the item is expensive or of sentimental value, you may wish to consult a specialist. Specialists in furniture repair, restoration, painting, art restoration and conservation, carpet and rug cleaning, water damage, and fire or water restoration are commonly listed in phone books. Be sure to ask for and check references. Look for specialists who are affiliated with professional organizations.

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