ServiceMaster Clean Offers Tips to Recognize Mold and Reduce its Impact After Floods

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As Northeast endures record-breaking rainfall, disaster restoration professionals provide do’s and don’ts when dealing with drenched homes and businesses.

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Removing mold requires cutting away damp drywall and sanding wood. Mold is nature’s recycling agent, it eats things. The sooner a remediation expert can get to those things covered in mold the less long-term damage.

Memphis, TN – As stretches of Interstate 95 between Boston and New York have been closed and could remain so for days, the state of Rhode Island has experienced the most rainfall it has seen in more than 100 years.

The flooding caps a month that set rainfall records across the region. Boston measured nearly 14 inches for March, breaking the previous record for the month, set in 1953. New Jersey, New York City and Portland, Maine, surpassed similar records. Portland registered its rainiest month on record, with a total of more than 15 inches of rain in March.

Flooding, especially in warmer areas, can create the perfect environment for mold. The disaster restoration experts at ServiceMaster Clean offer homeowners the tips below to recognize and prevent spreading of mold.

Mold isn’t the only concern when returning home following a flood. Pete Duncanson, director of training and technical support for ServiceMaster Clean’s disaster restoration service, recommends wearing protective clothing before entering a flood-damaged home.

“The potential for mold is there, but you have other bacteria that enter the building as the waters rise,” said Duncanson. “Wear long sleeves and pants, wear gloves and boots, and if you do have a large presence of mold – you smell that earthy scent in the air – you may want to wear a respirator.”

Dry or discard wet items within 24-48 hours to avoid mold. Even after wet items are removed, mold may remain hidden in drywall, carpeting and HVAC systems. While bleach may be used to control mold, it does not kill it.

“Removing mold requires cutting away damp drywall and sanding wood,” said Duncanson. “Mold is nature’s recycling agent, it eats things. The sooner a remediation expert can get to those things covered in mold the less long-term damage.”

Tips from the Disaster Restoration Experts

What to do when your home or business suffers water damage:

  •     If the outside temperature is above 60 degrees, use dehumidifiers if available.
  •     Use fans to circulate the air and assist drying.
  •     Remove as much water as possible by mopping and blotting.
  •     Wipe furniture dry.
  •     Lift draperies off carpet, loop through a coat hanger, and place the hanger on the drapery rod.
  •     Prop up wet furniture cushions for even drying and place small wood blocks or aluminum foil under furniture legs.
  •     Remove wet area rugs or other floor coverings and open furniture drawers, closet doors, and luggage to enhance drying.
  •     Move photos, paintings, and art objects to a safe, dry location.
  •     Remove wet fabrics and dry them as soon as possible. Hang furs and leather goods to dry separately at room temperature.
  •     Remove damp books from shelves and spread out to dry.
  •     If damage occurs during a cool season, leave heat on; if in summer, use an air conditioner if available.

Important warnings on water damage:

  •     Do not use an ordinary household vacuum to remove water.
  •     Do not use electrical appliances while on wet carpet or wet floors.
  •     Do not go into rooms with standing water if the electricity is still on.
  •     Do not lift tacked down carpet without professional help. Lifting the carpet incorrectly could promote shrinkage.
  •     Do not wait to call for professional help. Damage from the water and bacteria growth can begin within hours.

Important warnings on mold:

  •     Remove damp items from the home within 24 to 48 hours. Throw away any wet items you don’t consider valuable. The replacement cost may be less than restoration, but another brand in the ServiceMaster family, Furniture Medic may be able to restore treasured wood furnishings and antiques.
  •     Never mix bleach with other cleaning products. The combination of chemicals may create toxic fumes
  •     Avoid direct contact with affected mold areas as much as possible. Wear protective clothing while sifting through items that were beneath the flood waters or where mold has begun to spread.

1.    Please contact us at (901) 597-6886 if you would like to use b-roll footage of ServiceMaster damage restoration specialists working to remove water from flooded homes.

2.    Interview opportunities with a Flood Research and Cleaning Expert. Please contact us if you would like to schedule an interview with Peter Duncanson, Director of Training and Technical Support for ServiceMaster Clean. The cleaning professionals at ServiceMaster Clean® use advanced products, procedures, and equipment to assure the highest level of cleaning performance and protection for property and furnishings.

3.    Ready-to-use subject matter expert quotation for newspaper or broadcast publication: “When disaster strikes your home or business, all you want to do is get your life back to normal…fast,” says Pete Duncanson, Director of Training and Technical Support for ServiceMaster Clean. “Our local service technicians are trained to respond immediately, because damage from water and bacteria growth can begin within hours. Call 1-800-RESPOND (737-7663) to reach a disaster restoration specialist in your area.”


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Michael Bielskis
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