You are here: Home / Users / leilana.mckindra@okstate.edu / Preventing and cleaning mold and mildew after a storm

Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Preventing and cleaning mold and mildew after a storm

STILLWATER, Okla. – Cleaning up after a flood can be a big job, but one of the first priorities should be taking steps to prevent mold and mildew in your home.

“After a flood, lots of surfaces in your house can mildew. Porous materials, such as carpeting and drywall, are especially vulnerable,” said Gina Peek, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension housing and consumer specialist.

Molds and mildews can cause damage to your home. People with asthma, allergies or other breathing conditions may be especially sensitive to mold. Others with suppressed immune systems may also be more sensitive.

As a first step, contact your insurance company and document the conditions with photos or a video, Peek said.

Then, begin assessing the water damage. If it is excessive or if the mold covers more than 10 square feet, consult the U.S. Environmental Agency’s “Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings” (http://www.epa.gov/mold/mold_remediation.html).

In cases where flood waters are contaminated with sewage, for example, contact a professional with experience in this area.

The key to preventing mold and mildew is to dry out your home as quickly as possible.

“Weather permitting, open the house to help dry it out. Leave the doors to all rooms and closets open, along with any drawers and cabinets,” Peek said. “Curtains should be left open to take advantage of circulating air and sunshine.”

It also is important to thoroughly clean all hard, nonporous surfaces with soap and water. To clean surfaces inside your home, use a mild detergent and water.

“As a precaution while you’re cleaning, you can wear an N-95 respirator,” Peek said. “Gloves will protect your hands, especially when cleaning with soap and water, while goggles can protect your eyes.”

When possible, consider leaving damp items in the sun, which will help dry them more quickly.

For more information about acting quickly to avoid mold and mildew, contact the county Extension office.

###

 

Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Higher Education Act), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, genetic information, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, or status as a veteran, in any of its policies, practices or procedures. This provision includes, but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services. The Director of Equal Opportunity, 408 Whitehurst, OSU, Stillwater, OK 74078-1035; phone 405-744-5371; email: eeo@okstate.edu has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Director of Equal Opportunity. Any person (student, faculty, or staff) who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based on gender may discuss his or her concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of Title IX with OSU’s Title IX Coordinator 405-744-9154.

REPORTER/MEDIA CONTACT:
Leilana McKindra
Communications Specialist
Agricultural Communications Services
140 Agriculture North
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078
Phone: 405-744-6792
Fax: 405-744-5739
Email: leilana.mckindra@okstate.edu

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater, OK 74078
405.744.5000