6 steps to avoid carpet mold after water damage

Make sure you thoroughly sanitize the area prior to drying. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Kristen M.)

Make sure you thoroughly sanitize the area prior to drying. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Kristen M.)

Homeowners who experience flooding, power outages and storm damage should be aware of the potential mold growth as a result of water damage and moisture from the storms. Power outages cause warm humid environments that are ideal for mold and bacteria growth.

Exposure to mold can cause adverse health effects in some people. Breathing airborne mold might make hay fever or asthma symptoms worse for those who have allergies. It can also cause irritation of the eyes, nose, throat or lungs.

The sooner you start cleaning up after water damage, the better chances you have of avoiding mold from forming underneath your carpet. Here are six steps to be sure to follow:

1. Remove the water. Use a wet/dry vacuum to clean up as much of the water as possible.

2. Use a dehumidifier. Remove excessive moisture and reduce humidity levels with dehumidifiers. This will not only make the air feel cooler, but it will also limit the growth of mold and mildew.

3. Speed drying process with fans. One of the first things you want to do is get fresh air circulating.

4. Treat carpet and flooring. All carpets should be steam cleaned to properly sanitize and deodorize. Typically water damaged padding must be replaced.

5. Sanitize walls and baseboards. Everything touched by storm water should be sanitized. Clean all walls, hard-surface floors and other household surfaces with soap and water and sanitize them with a solution of 1½ cups of chlorine bleach to one gallons of water. Remember to wash your hands frequently during clean up and always wear rubber gloves.

6. Check furniture. Look for damage and lift off wet flooring.

Cleaning water-soaked carpets and floors is difficult under any conditions, but in the aftermath of a storm or flood, contamination by mud, silt, sewage and mildew, it can compound the problem. The Institute for Inspection Cleaning & Restoration Certification (IICRC) recommends that it is always best to have water and mold evaluated and removed by a certified professional.

Ayoub Carpet Service is located in Chantilly, Va. As of August 30, 2012, this service provider was highly rated on Angie’s List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check AngiesList.com for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie’s List.

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