Tips for safely preventing mold growth in your home after Harvey

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How to clean your house and prevent mold following a flood. (David J. Phillip/AP Photo)

As people begin the process of cleaning up and drying out their homes, the Brazoria County Health Department has offered these tips on how to safely prevent mold growth in your home.

  • Clean up and dry out quickly (within 24 to 48 hours). Open doors and windows. Use fans to help dry things out.

  • When in doubt, take it out! Remove all porous items that have been wet more than 48 hours and cannot be thoroughly cleaned and dried. These items can remain a source of mold growth and should be removed from the home. Porous, non-cleanable items include carpeting and carpet padding, upholstery, drywall, wallpaper, floor and ceiling tiles, insulation material, some clothing, leather, paper, wood and food. Removal and cleaning are important because even dead mold may cause allergic reactions in some people.


  • To prevent mold growth, clean wet items and surfaces with detergent and water.

  • Homeowners may want to temporarily store items outside of the home until insurance claims can be filed. If you wish to disinfect, please refer to the EPA's Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture and Your Home.


  • If there is mold in your home, you should clean up the mold and fix any water problems, such as leaks in roofs, walls and plumbing. Controlling moisture in your home is the most critical factor in preventing mold growth.


  • To remove mold growth from hard surfaces, use commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than one cup of household laundry bleach in one gallon of water. Use a stiff brush on rough surface materials such as concrete.


If you choose to use bleach to remove mold:

  • Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. Mixing bleach with ammonia or other cleaning products will produce dangerous, toxic fumes.


  • Open windows and doors to provide fresh air.


  • Wear non-porous gloves and protective eyewear.


  • If the area to be cleaned is more than 10 square feet, consult the EPA guide Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings.


  • Always follow the manufacturer's instructions when using bleach or any other cleaning product.


  • If you plan to be inside the building for a while or you plan to clean up mold, you should buy an N95 mask at your local home supply store and wear it while in the building. Make certain that you follow instructions on the package for fitting the mask tightly to your face. If you go back into the building for a short time and are not cleaning up mold, you do not need to wear an N95 mask.


For more information, go to: www.cdc.gov/disasters/mold/

Related Topics:
hurricanehurricane harveyfloodinghouston floodmoldwater damage
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