Free Guide For Cleanup Of Homes After Flooding Available To Mid-Atlantic Homeowners, Contractors

A document developed to help Gulf Coast residents clean up their homes after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita is available to help homeowners in the Mid-Atlantic facing flooded houses after the recent rains, the National Center for Healthy Housing announced on June 28.

The illustrated step-by-step guide for do-it-yourselfers and contractors, titled Creating a Healthy Home: A Field Guide for Clean-Up of Flooded Homes, is available online at www.centerforhealthyhousing.org. A DVD that demonstrates procedures outlined in the guide is available free of charge by calling the National Center for Healthy Housing at (877) 312-3046.

Recent heavy rains brought flooding problems to the Mid-Atlantic with more than a foot of rain falling in some areas. Some homes have already endured extensive damage and required evacuation.

"Removing standing water and water damaged materials within the first 48 hours is critical for preventing mold growth," said Rebecca Morley, executive director of the National Center for Healthy Housing based in Columbia, Md. "Mold exposure may cause allergic reactions, such as asthma attacks, sneezing, runny nose, red eyes and skin rash. Even dead mold spores pose a risk, especially for children and adults with respiratory problems."

The instructional guide documents a protocol that was tested on four homes in New Orleans.

The National Center for Healthy Housing recommends the following steps for cleaning up flooded homes.

  • Remove standing water and dry out the building as soon as you can. Open doors and windows. Mop up or pump out any standing water.
  • Use a mild detergent and water to clean and remove mold from hard surfaces.
  • Use fans and dehumidifiers to remove moisture after cleaning. Be careful not to blow mold around while drying -- point fans to blow outside.
  • Throw away moldy things that can't be cleaned such as carpets and carpet padding, upholstered furniture, drywall, wood molding, and fiberglass or cellulose insulation, and ceiling tiles.
  • If there is more than 10 square feet (about 3 feet by 3 feet) of mold in your house, consider using a professional mold cleanup contractor. Don't hire a contractor who recommends fogging or spraying as a way to cleanup mold. Moldy materials must be removed from the building.
  • Wipe dry or allow all surfaces to fully air-dry before doing any more work. Make sure that the home is allowed to completely dry before beginning restoration.

This article originally appeared in the 07/01/2006 issue of Environmental Protection.

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