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DURR Environmental Services
Protecting Health and Property Since 1962

Greater New Orleans Area
(504) 833-5550
Formosan Termite Specialists

Controlling Mold Growth When Cleaning Flooded and/or Rain-Wetted Homes

Durr Environmental recommends these repair and cleaning steps be taken to prevent any long-term health risk or exposure to toxic molds.

Flooded Homes:

  1. First, remove all carpets, furniture, clothes and other items wetted by floodwaters.
  2. Remove interior wall coverings and insulation in the wall cavities.
  3. Wash the wall cavities and wall framing with an aqueous detergent solution using low to moderate pressure. Several people are using sodium hypochlorite (e.g., Clorox, Purex, etc.) solutions for such operations, but this is not recommended except when small areas are to be cleaned. While sodium hypochlorite is germicidal, its corrosivity can compromise electrical connections, etc. In addition, building materials will absorb large amounts of sodium hypochlorite. This will cause the gradual loss of chlorine gas into the living space for an extended period of time. Sodium hypochlorite is an EPA-registered pesticide, but it is not labeled for wood treatment.
  4. Spray-treat the framing and wall cavities with a non-volatile antimicrobial that is registered by the EPA for that use. All pesticides should be applied according to label directions. Restricted use pesticides should be applied by a licensed, certified pest control technician. General repair contractors are not certified or trained by Nisus Corp. to apply Bora-Care with Mold-Care. Borate products supplemented with a mold-control agent are recommended because borates are biocidal to bacteria and wood decay fungi as well as insects such as termites and roaches. The mold-control agent must be added to increase the biocidal activity of borates to mold fungi. In addition, borates have a low mammalian toxicity, are corrosion inhibitors, colorless and odorless. One EPA-registered product that is labeled for use on wood for controlling wood-inhabiting insects and fungi, including molds, is Bora-Care with Mold-Care by Nisus Corporation (www.nisuscorp.com). This product contains both borate and a mold control agent.
  5. Place fans throughout the structure to increase the rate of drying.
  6. When the framing is dry, the electrical connections and plumbing within the walls should be checked by licensed professionals.
  7. Replace wall insulation and wall coverings after verifying that the moisture content of the wood framing is below 20%. Failure to make sure the moisture content is below this level will result in additional mold growth within the wall cavities. Durr Environmental’s licensed, certified pest control technicians are familiar with the proper use of a moisture meter, if needed.

Rain-wetted homes:

All of the points discussed above for flooded homes apply to home “flooded” by rainwater, except for item 3. The wall cavities should be relatively clean when exposed and not require a detergent wash. In most instances, homes wetted by rainfall have experienced roof damage. In these homes, the ceilings and insulation above them also must be removed if wet.

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