Instructions for Cleaning Up Your Home After a Moisture Leak
Moisture leaking within your home can ruin surfaces and cause mold and mildew growth. When mold growth goes undiscovered for any amount of time it allows mold spores to build up in your home to cause health problems. Here are some instructions to help you properly clean up after a moisture leak.
Stop Moisture from Leaking Further
When you first discover moisture leaking inside your house, you need to figure out where the moisture is coming from and stop the leak. It may be coming in from an outside source through your home's foundation or roof. It may also be leaking from a plumbing or water pipe, or from a water-using appliance, such as a washer, water heater, or your freezer's ice maker.
It is important to stop the leak and prevent it from occurring again, as repeated water leaks in your home that are left without drying the area can cause dry rot and mold growth. Hire a roof repair, foundation sealing, or other necessary repair to stop the leak.
Inspect for Mold
You should thoroughly check for mold growth in any area that has received a water leak. This includes lifting up carpet and padding and remove baseboards to look for mold and mildew growth.
If your drywall has become wet from the moisture leak, you may need to remove the wet area and replace it, as drywall does not dry out well and mold can grow unnoticed inside the wall. Use a utility knife to cut out the area of water damage. This will also help you check the insulation and wall studs behind the drywall for any mold growth.
Mold and mildew growth may appear as a fuzzy black, white, green, or other colored surface, which you can check with a cotton swab and some bleach. Apply the bleach onto the cotton swab and press it onto the area in question. If the bleach turns the area white, it is usually mold and should be cleaned appropriately.
Clean Up Mold Growth
Use a solution of water and vinegar to wipe off mold growth on hard surfaces, and allow the area to air-dry, as vinegar will kill most types of mold spores. You can also spray a disinfectant cleaner and use a cloth to wipe off mold growth. Be sure to dry out the area with your home's furnace running and fans directed onto the wet area to circulate air.
If your carpeting has begun to grow mold, apply a mixture of vinegar and water or a solution of bleach and water onto the carpeting. Then, use a shop vacuum or a carpet cleaner to suck up the solution from the carpeting and pad. Direct a fan onto the area to help dry it out. It may be necessary to replace the padding, as it cannot dry out properly before it grows mold within its layers.
Mold can begin to grow within just a couple days of an area become soaked by a leak. If you can remove the carpet, take it outside to help it dry out further. The sun's rays on the carpeting will also help kill mold and mildew spores. Even though you can address the mold yourself, it's ideal to have a mold remediation service come and take care of this for you.