Tips on Cleaning Mold After a Flood

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Home with mold.

Mold inside home.Returning to your home after a flood is a big part of getting your life back to normal. But you may be facing a new challenge: mold. What can you do to get rid of it?  How do you get the mold out of your home and stay safe at the same time? CDC has investigated floods, mold, and cleanup, and offers practical tips for homeowners and others on how to safely and efficiently remove mold from the home.

In 2005, thousands of people along the Gulf Coast were faced with cleaning up mold from their homes after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. One of our first concerns was to let homeowners and others know how they could clean up mold safely. After Hurricane Sandy in 2012, we teamed up with other federal agencies to provide practical advice on mold cleanup. This guidance outlines what to do before and after going into a moldy building, how to decide if you can do the cleanup yourself or need to hire someone, and how you can do the cleanup safely.

Prepare to Clean Up

It isn’t necessary to identify the type of mold in your home, and CDC doesn’t recommend routine sampling for mold. If you are susceptible to mold, there may be a health risk; therefore, no matter what type of mold is present, it needs to be removed.

Before you start any cleanup work, call your insurance company and take pictures of the home and your belongings. Throw away, or at least move outside, anything that was wet with flood water and can’t be cleaned and dried completely within 24 to 48 hours. Remember – drying your home and removing water-damaged items is the most important step to prevent mold damage.8 Tips to Clean Up Mold

Protect Yourself

We offer specific recommendations for different groups of people and different cleanup activities. This guidance educates people about the type of protection (think: gloves, goggles, masks) you need for different parts of your mold cleanup. It also identifies groups of people who should and should not be doing cleanup activities.

Be Careful  With Bleach

Many people use bleach to clean up mold. If you decide to use bleach, use it safely by wearing gloves, a mask, and goggles to protect yourself. Remember these four tips to stay safe:

  • NEVER mix bleach with ammonia or any other cleaning product.
  • ALWAYS open windows and doors when using bleach, to let fumes escape.
  • NEVER use bleach straight from the bottle to clean surfaces. Use no more than 1 cup of bleach per 1 gallon of water when you’re cleaning up mold. If you are using stronger, professional strength bleach use less than 1 cup of bleach per gallon of water.
  • ALWAYS protect your mouth, nose, skin, and eyes against both mold and bleach with an N-95 mask, gloves, and goggles. You can buy an N-95 mask at home improvement and hardware stores.

You can take steps to keep yourself and others protected while cleaning up mold after a flood. Make sure to follow CDC’s recommendations so you can return home safely.

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12 comments on “Tips on Cleaning Mold After a Flood”

Comments listed below are posted by individuals not associated with CDC, unless otherwise stated. These comments do not represent the official views of CDC, and CDC does not guarantee that any information posted by individuals on this site is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. Read more about our comment policy ».

    This is very helpful information for all people in regards to, floods, hurricanes, and even a flooded basement from a down pour. Thanks.

    We were on vacation for 3 weeks and came home to our family room and basement
    Completely flooded. We had insurance and a company came out emptied the rooms and used these huge fans they said that dried everything up. You can still smell mold and people that visit get severe allergy reactions from allergic to mold.

    I was always concerned because it was in the walls from the outside wall and the family room inside wall that went to the basement that had cement behind the sheet rock and I always wondered if they got it all dry? because why do we still smell the strong odor of mold? Can it keep growing if they don’t get all of it? Thank you any help appreciated!

    The insurance company was NO help when I called them to say It still smells terrible in the basement? because we had settled, but I had settled because I had faith that it was taken care of! It is going on 3 years in January 2017

    We do not have data about the prevalence of mold-related illnesses. However, we do know that certain groups people are more likely to get sick after being exposed to mold. People with asthma, allergies and respiratory conditions are more sensitive to mold, as well as people with a compromised immune systems and chronic diseases. Get more information about mold here:

    Mold is always in the atmosphere, so it is possible that there may be new mold growing. If there is moisture inside your wall or crawlspace it needs to be dried out completely to prevent new or renewed growth. If mold is inside your walls, simply using fans to dry out the outside the walls may not solve the problem. If the sheet rock in is wet, the most reliable remediation is to remove and replace the affected sheet rock.

    Your article is extremely well-written. This is great informational content from my point of view. You also make many valid points with compelling, unique content.

    Failure to clean well after flooding can cause mold to build up and can be dangerous to people if they got exposed to it. When we are exposed to damp and moldy environment, it can affect our health several ways. Most people will have no reaction at all when exposed to molds. Allergic reactions, similar to common pollen or animal allergies, including runny nose, eye irritation, and skin rash, are the most common health effects for individuals sensitive to molds. Flu-like symptoms, such as cough, congestion, headache, and fatigue, may occur. Molds may also aggravate asthma. Fungal infections from building-associated molds may occur in people with serious immune disease but this is very rare. Most symptoms are temporary and eliminated by correcting the mold problem The term mildew is sometimes used to refer to some kinds of mold, particularly mold in the home with a white or grayish color or mold growing in shower stalls and bathrooms. Mold may grow indoors or outdoors and thrives in damp, warm, and humid environments. Mold can be found in essentially any environment or season. In order to control mold grow it’s important that we control moisture. I am so interested to comment on this subject because I leave in Houston, Texas where it rains a lot and we are exposed to a lot of flooding, therefore mold problem is a serious problem in Houston. Being aware of the problem and find a way to avoid it or minimize it is a must.

    a Mold is a very tricky job , it is a very useful article and very informative also. Thank you for sharing this tips for cleaning the mold.

    Thank you for all of these great examples of the types of flooring to choose for a home!

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Page last reviewed: December 12, 2016
Page last updated: December 12, 2016