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PROTECT YOUR HEALTH WHILE TRYING TO SALVAGE MOLD-CONTAMINATED ITEMS

October 12, 2022

PROTECT YOUR HEALTH WHILE TRYING TO SALVAGE MOLD-CONTAMINATED ITEMS

Media contact:
Wendi Jackson, Public Information Specialist
chd64pio@flhealth.gov

 

Volusia County, Fl. –The Florida Department of Health in Volusia County urges residents in flooded areas to follow safety guidelines to protect their health while cleaning up water damaged homes and businesses.

“It is important for residents to be mindful of how to deal with mold contaminated items while cleaning up their homes,” said Robert Maglievaz, Environmental Health Administrator. “Mold contaminated items could possibly cause infections or trigger allergic reactions in some individuals.”

Mold contaminated items should be dried and cleaned properly before returning them back into the living environment.

  • The DOH-Volusia recommends the following safety guidelines to salvage mold-contaminated items:
  • Mold will eventually destroy the item it is growing on. Mold should be removed as soon as possible.
  • Consider hiring a water damage restoration or mold remediation specialist if you have a number of water damaged items you wish to save or mold contamination in excess of 100 square feet.
  • If your salvageable items are wet but you do not see mold, the guidelines in Table 1 are recommended
  • If you see mold growing on salvageable items, the guidelines in Table 2 are recommended
  • Whenever handling potentially contaminated items, use an N-95 respirator, gloves and goggles. Those with mold-related allergies, asthma or are immune compromised should not handle potentially contaminated items.
  • If you develop health symptoms you suspect may be related to a salvaged item in your home, please see your physician immediately and have a non-impacted family member take the item out of the living area.

For more information about indoor air quality and mold growth, contact the Florida Department of Health-Volusia at (386) 274-0694 or the Florida Department of Health's Indoor Air Toxics Hotline at (850) 245-4288. You may also visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s indoor air quality webpage at http://www.epa.gov/mold/

Table 1: Salvaging Items with No Visible Mold Growth[1]

Water-Damaged MaterialActions
Books and papers
  • For non-valuable items, discard books and papers.
  • Photocopy valuable/important items, discard originals.
  • Freeze (in frost-free freezer or meat locker) or freeze-dry. Do not mix items with food
  • Consult a water damage or restoration specialist for items with high sentimental or monetary value.
Clothing
  • Wash clothes per manufacturer’s instructions
Carpet and backing - dry within 24-48 hours
  • Dry with water extraction vacuum.
  • Reduce ambient humidity levels with dehumidifier.
  • Accelerate drying process with fans.
Ceiling tiles
  • Discard and replace.
Cellulose and Fiberglass insulation
  • Discard and replace
Concrete or cinder block surfaces
  • Remove water with water extraction vacuum.
  • Accelerate drying process with dehumidifiers, fans, and/or heaters
Hard surface, porous flooring (Linoleum, ceramic tile, vinyl)
  • Vacuum or damp wipe with water and mild detergent and allow to dry; scrub if necessary.
  • Check to make sure underflooring is dry; dry underflooring if necessary.
Non-porous, hard surfaces
(Plastics, metals)
  • Vacuum or damp wipe with water and mild detergent and allow to dry; scrub if necessary.
Upholstered furniture
  • Remove water with water extraction vacuum.
  • Accelerate drying process with dehumidifiers, fans, and/or heaters.
  • May be difficult to completely dry within 48 hours. If the piece is valuable, you may wish to consult a restoration/water damage professional who specializes in furniture.
Window drapes
  • Follow laundering or cleaning instructions recommended by the manufacturer
Wood surfaces
  • Treated or finished wood surfaces may be cleaned with mild detergent and clean water and allowed to dry.
  • Wet paneling should be pried away from wall for drying.

 

Table 2: Salvaging Items with Mold Growth Caused by Rain Water[2]

Material or Furnishing Affected

Clean-up Method

Books and Paper

Once item or material is dried, use a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) vacuum to remove mold from surfaces. Dispose of vacuumed debris as normal waste in a well-sealed plastic bag. Dispose of items where mold cannot be removed in sealed bag and dispose as normal waste. Consult a water damage or restoration specialist for items with high sentimental or monetary value.

Clothing

Wash clothes per manufacturer’s instructions or have professionally cleaned. If the mold stain or odor does not come out of clothing, dispose.

Carpet and Carpet padding(less than 10 square feet)

Once item or material is dried, use a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) vacuum to remove mold from surfaces. Dispose of vacuumed debris as normal waste in a well-sealed plastic bag. Dispose of items where mold cannot be removed in sealed bag and dispose as normal waste.

Carpet and Carpet padding(between 10-100 square feet)

OR

Carpet and padding(less than 10 square feet where storm-related odors cannot be eliminated)




Contain item in sealed plastic, remove from building in a well-sealed plastic bag and dispose as normal waste. After removal, HEPA vacuum the dried surface area that item covered. Dispose of vacuumed debris as normal waste in a well-sealed plastic bag.

Concrete or Cinder Block

The material should be HEPA vacuumed after it is dried. If vacuuming cannot remove the mold, further cleaning with soap and water followed by drying and then re-vacuuming is recommended. Dispose of vacuumed debris as normal waste in a well-sealed plastic bag.

Ceramic tile, vinyl, linoleum

Damp-wipe surfaces with plain water or water-detergent solution until visible mold is removed. Allow surface to dry and then HEPA vacuum. Dispose of vacuumed debris as normal waste in a well-sealed plastic bag.

Wood and laminate floors

Follow manufacturer recommendations for cleaning. If no recommendations are available, use a wood cleaner. Scrub as needed until visible growth is removed. Allow surface to dry and then HEPA vacuum surface. Dispose of vacuumed debris as normal waste in a well-sealed plastic bag.

Non-porous (wood, plastic and metal) furniture

Plastic and Metal: Damp-wipe surfaces with plain water or water-detergent solution until visible mold is removed. Allow surface to dry and then HEPA vacuum surface. Dispose of vacuumed debris as normal waste in a well-sealed plastic bag.

Method 5 for wood furniture: Follow manufacturer recommendations for cleaning. If no recommendations are available, use a wood cleaner. Scrub as needed until visible growth is removed. Allow surface to dry and then HEPA vacuum surface. Dispose of vacuumed debris as normal waste in a well-sealed plastic bag.

Upholstered furniture and drapes

Consult professional water damage restoration professional. Place damaged materials in sealed plastic bag and discard as normal waste if item cannot be cleaned.

Wallboard (drywall, plaster)

Place damaged materials in sealed plastic bag and remove.

[1]These guidelines were developed from the United States Environmental Protection Agency document, "Mold Remediation in Schools and "
[2]These guidelines were developed from the United States Environmental Protection Agency document, "Mold Remediation in Schools and

 

About the Florida Department of Health

The Florida Department of Health, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Boardworks to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

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