With the flooding of homes, comes the potential for mold.
Mold is a common problem after flooding and can cause serious health issues for people living in proximity to it. That is why cleaning flooded homes and buildings with the proper fungicide is important.
According to the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, those cleaning homes and buildings following flooding should use a fungicide and wire brushes to remove mold from structures.
“Improper cleaning can result in mold resurfacing after the homeowner has spent a great deal of time and money to rebuild,” Mark Coffin of Omaha Habitat for Humanity said. “We don’t want people to have to tear out drywall a second time.”
According to Coffin, mold must be effectively cleared before rebuilding can begin and representatives of NEVOAD (Nebraska Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) also recommend the following mold removal tips:
- Use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered fungicide for mold remediation. Fungicides are cleaning agents specifically intended for killing mold and other fungi, both on and below the surface of contaminated materials. Common brands are Concrobium Mold Control and Fiberlock Shockwave.
- Bleach is not effective for mold remediation because it cannot clean below the surface of porous or semi-porous materials like wood. Because it cannot kill mold roots, mold can and will regrow.
- Use a wire brush to scrub all wood surfaces in multiple directions—up and down, side to side, circularly and diagonally. This helps remove mold and open up wood fibers for fungicide penetration.
- Fold shop towels into sixths to prep for wiping down. Use a permanent marker to mark an “X” on the stud once fully scrubbed to track work progress. Apply fungicide to all wood marked with an “X” according to product instructions (when recommended, spray application is often easiest). Wipe down sprayed areas with a shop towel. Flip towel to a different clean face each time it becomes dirty; once all towel faces have been used, discard and replace with a new, clean towel. Do not re-use dirty towels or re-dip dirty towels into fungicide. When stud is wiped down on all sides, circle the “X” with permanent marker.
“A pressure-wash with a 3000 psi pressure washer is the fastest, most efficient way to do the manual cleaning step,” Cumpton said. “Then, push excess water to the drain or sump pump. Apply sanitizer while the wood is still wet.”
Do not restore drywall until all materials have dried completely. Drying of all affected areas is necessary before restoration.
In Fremont, fungicidal disinfectant can be obtained free of charge for flood clean up at the Fremont Mall, 860 E. 23rd Street, through the Heartland Church Network.
Those in need of fungicidal disinfectant are asked to call the Heartland Church Network at 402-620-8716 to inquire about fungicidal disinfectant before going to Fremont Mall to pick up.
Homeowners still in need of clean-up assistance can call the Crisis Clean Up Hotline at 833-556-2476. In addition, homeowners can find more information at: http://www.heartlandchurchnetwork.com/flood-relief.html
A moisture meter can be used to test the moisture content of studs and sheathing before replacing insulation. Wood products specialists recommend that wood have no more than 14 to 15 percent moisture by weight before closing a wall.
In Fremont, the Dodge County Extension Office, at 1206 W. 23rd St., has seven moisture meters that can be borrowed for a 48-hour period.
People can stop in to borrow the meters, or call the Extension Office at 402-727-2775 to see if a meter is currently available.