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After Flooding, Proper Cleanup Of Mold And Mildew Is Essential

Release date: 
July 29, 2004
Release Number: 

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan residents whose homes and businesses have been water damaged as a result of the severe weather that occurred from May 20-24 may also find themselves in the position of facing the growth of mold and mildew.This Press Release Was Updated on 06/28/05

Disaster recovery specialists caution that mold and mildew can begin to grow within 24 hours after a flood and can be found throughout the house, including the attic, basement and crawl spaces.

Director Janet Olszewski of the Michigan Department of Community Health encourages those who may now realize they have a mold problem to act quickly to eliminate mold. "After flooding, mold can pose a danger to home and health. Taking steps to clean mold properly ensures a healthy home especially for those who may suffer from allergies and asthma."

All materials are likely to become moldy if they are wet for long enough. Evaluate the condition of all items in a flooded area. Wood furniture and other porous materials can trap mold and may need be to be thrown away. Harder materials such as glass, plastic and metal can be cleaned and disinfected. Carpeting can be a problem since drying it out doesn't remove mold spores. Carpets with heavy mold may have to be discarded.

The secret to preventing problems is cleaning, disinfecting and drying all wet surfaces as soon as possible.

Specialists offer the following suggestions to ensure safe, effective cleanup:

Open windows for ventilation and wear rubber gloves for cleaning.

Wash all areas and washable items that came in contact with floodwaters with a non-ammonia soap or detergent.

Rinse thoroughly and disinfect the area with a dilute solution of 10 percent household bleach. Never use bleach with ammonia-the fumes are toxic!

Dry the cleaned areas for several days. Raising the temperature and using fans or dehumidifiers will help.

After cleaning, you may still have mold odors. It's possible for mold to hide in walls or behind wall coverings. It's important to find all mold sources and properly clean them.

Materials that cannot be cleaned, such as drywall, fiberglass and cellulose insulation, should be removed and discarded. Then clean the wall studs, where wallboard has been removed, and allow the area to dry completely.

The Michigan Department of Community Health has more tips on cleaning mold at and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region V website has information at

On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages Citizen Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.

This Press Release Was Updated on 06/28/05

Last Updated: 
January 3, 2018 - 12:48