This weekend, many homeowners will continue the process of cleaning up in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. If they have completed the demolition and removed all wet materials, they now are looking to assure the structure is sanitized and completely dried out before putting up new sheetrock.
“The first step, the best thing you can do is remove all the nasty, wet stuff from your house. That water isn’t just river water. It’s Class 3 sewage water, so anything that has been in contact with that water should really be thrown out,” Marc Patel, owner of Green Star Eco Services advises.
Green Star Eco Services is a dealer-operator for Caltex and using a proprietary sanitizing product called Calbrite. We use this regularly to kill mold, algae and mildew. This kind of EPA-approved anti-microbial is going to take out the germs.
We strongly advise people not to use bleach on porous surfaces such as wood framing and sheetrock. When bleach breaks down it effectively becomes food for mold! If you are on waiting list for professional remediation and need to start sanitizing, there are a couple of anti-microbials in store we would suggest: Microban and Comchrobium.
Spray and Dry
Green Star Eco Services provides a Spray & Dry service. We evaluate if the demolition was complete and then sanitize with Calbrite. We bring in our industrial dehumidifiers and air movers to dry out the space so that moisture in wood registers at 18% or lower and in porous materials at 6% or lower.
“It’s a combination of using the correct anti-microbial sanitizer to spray down the structure, the studs and the inner walls. And then to hook up enough dehumidification and air movement to properly dry out the structure,” Patel says.
We also recommend hiring a licensed mold accessor to document the extent of the mold.
If you have 25 contiguous feet or more of mold, you really need to have a licensed mold remediation company in there. We take several steps to secure, control, dry and safely remove materials that have got to go. (Think duct work, building materials that are beyond hope).
Why Doesn’t Bleach Kill Mold?
You may associate bleach with preventing mold. Under normal circumstances, a household cleanser with bleach or a bleach/water combo can be part of your typical cleaning routine to prevent areas with hard surfaces (not wet drywall) from collecting moisture and organic materials that combine to create the ideal conditions for mold: moisture and decaying organic materials.
But once extreme moisture has been well-established, such as within 48 hours of a flood, the mold breeding operation is up and running. Spraying such a space with bleach is like pouring gasoline on a fire. That’s because the bleach breaks down the organic matter and doesn’t remove mold. You have merely created an environment to foster further mold growth and any dead mold still presents a health hazard with allergens.
A scientific study examined the effects of varying bleach concentration treatments on moldy wood and found the bleach did not get rid of the mold.
The EPA suggests in its flood cleanup guide that if you have a large amount of mold after a flood, then you should consider hiring a professional for cleanup.