Returning Home: Put Mold on Hold

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Release date: 
September 12, 2011
Release Number: 

BURLINGTON, Vt. -- Federal Emergency Management Agency officials encourage residents to take quick action to minimize the damage caused by mold after the flooding from Tropical Storm Irene.

"Don't wait for a FEMA inspector before you clean up, but be sure to take proper precautions," said FEMA's Federal Coordinating Officer Craig Gilbert. "You want to stop mold from spreading. Take pictures to document your damage."

The elderly and those with asthma, allergies and compromised immune systems are more sensitive to the effects of mold.

For precautionary measures for cleaning up mold, visit the Environmental Protection Agency's website at:

Following are some general tips to eliminate mold:

  • Open windows and doors and use fans to dry out the building as quickly as possible. If possible, use wet-vacs to remove water and use dehumidifiers in closed spaces.
  • When working in an affected building, wear protective eye-wear, latex or rubber gloves and a mask.
  • Remove baseboards and soaked drywall to a foot above the watermark and discard. Drain walls by drilling holes or pulling non-porous paneling away from the studs. Check the interior of walls for mold.
  • Remove porous items that have been wet for more than 48 hours and cannot be thoroughly cleaned and dried - carpeting and carpet padding, upholstery, wallpaper, drywall, floor and ceiling tiles, insulation, leather, wood, paper, food and clothing.
  • If there is any doubt about whether the item has been affected by mold, discard it.
  • Hard, non-porous surfaces (metal, glass, solid wood, plastic, etc.) should be washed with non-ammonia detergent and hot water. Scrub rough surfaces such as concrete. Disinfect all cleaned surfaces with a solution of water and bleach; rinse after 10 minutes. Never mix bleach with ammonia.
  • If the area to be cleaned exceeds 10 square feet, consult a professional contractor or get a copy of the EPA guide, Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, available at
  • FEMA's mold and mildew cleanup brochure is available at

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585; or call 800-621-3362 if using 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS).

FEMA's temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.

SBA disaster loan information and application forms may be obtained by calling the SBA's Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for people with speech or hearing disabilities) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET or by sending an e-mail to Applications can also be downloaded from or completed on-line at

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to p...

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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