MOLD AND FUNGI

CLEAN-UP

Clean-Up:

GENERAL CLEAN-UP PROCEDURES

What can I save? What should I toss?

Substances that are porous and can trap molds, such as paper, rags, wallboard, and rotten wood should be decontaminated and thrown out. Harder materials such as glass, plastic, or metal can be kept after they are cleaned and disinfected.

Ultimately, it is critical to remove the source of moisture first, before beginning remedial action, since mold growth will return shortly if an effected area becomes re-wetted.

Removal of Moldy Materials

After fixing the moisture source and removing excess moisture, the cleanup can begin:

CAUTION: Spores are easily released when moldy material is dried out.

 

Soap Cleanup

Before disinfecting contaminated areas, clean the areas to remove as much of the mold (and food it is growing on) as possible.

 

Disinfect Surfaces

CAUTION: Bleach fumes can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, and damage clothing and shoes. Make sure the working area is ventilated well.

Can Cleaning up mold be hazardous to my health?

Yes. Exposure to mold can occur during the cleaning stage. Mold counts are typically 10 to 1000 times higher than background levels during the cleaning of mold damaged materials. Take steps to protect your health during cleanup:

CAUTION: Never use a gasoline engine indoors (e.g. pressure washer, generator) -- you could expose yourself and your family to carbon monoxide.

Can Air Duct Systems become Contaminated with Mold?

Yes. Air duct systems can become contaminated with mold. Duct systems can be constructed of bare sheet metal, sheet metal with an exterior fibrous glass insulation, sheet metal with an internal fibrous glass liner, or made entirely of fibrous glass. [ed note: CAUTION: older duct systems may be asbestos insulated.] If your home's air duct system has had water damage, first identify the type of air duct construction that you have. Bare sheet metal systems, or sheet metal with exterior fibrous glass insulation, can be cleaned and disinfected.

If your system has sheet metal with an internal fibrous glass liner, or are made entirely of fibrous glass, the ductwork normally will need to be removed and discarded. Ductwork in difficult locations may have to be abandoned. If you have other questions, contact an air duct cleaning professional, or licensed contractor.

After I've cleaned everything as thoroughly as possible, can I still have mold odors?

Yes. It is possible that odors may persist. continue to dry out the area and search for any hidden areas of mold. If the area continues to smell musty, you may have to reclean the area again (follow the cleaning steps given in this sheet). continue to dry and ventilate the area. Don't replace flooring or begin rebuilding until the area has dried completely.

How can further damage to my home be prevented?

Check regularly for the following:

If you see any of the above, seek out and take steps to eliminate the source of water penetration, as quickly as possible.

Can Ozone air cleaners help remove indoor mold, or reduce odor or pollution levels?

Some air cleaners are designed to produce ozone. Ozone is a strong oxidizing agent used as a disinfectant in water and sometimes to eliminate odors. However, ozone is a known lung irritant. Symptoms associated with exposure include cough, chest pain, and eye, nose, and throat irritation. Ozone generators have been shown to generate indoor levels above the safe limit. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that ozone is not effective in controlling molds and fungi, even at high concentrations far above safe health levels. Also, ozone may damage materials in the home. For these reasons, the California Department of Health Services strongly recommends that you do not use an ozone air cleaner in any occupied residential space. Refer to the CDHS IAQ Info Sheet: Health Hazards of Ozone-generating Air Cleaning Devices (January 1998).


This Info Sheet provide by California Department of Health Services, Indoor Air Quality Section. www.dhs.ca.gov/org/ps/deodc/ehlb/iaqs/

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