Experts Warn Flood Victims To Clean Properly To Avoid Mold Dangers
SAPULPA, Oklahoma - There's a new threat growing in several areas due to all of our flooding.
Mold is a concern for many flood victims because it only gets worse with time, and can become a problem within two days of flooding.
The Red Cross and the extension service are warning people to clean up their homes as soon as possible, especially if it gets into furniture and the walls.
Rock Creek is down to a relative trickle these days in Sapulpa, giving homeowners a chance to dry out.
Over Memorial Day, the combination of rain and runoff made the Creek swell into a lake that surrounded several homes and flooded a few.
Ron Blackburn's house backs up to the Creek, and though he didn't flood this time, he's been through it three times before.
“We had to go in and replace a lot of flooring, but it's perfectly fine,” he said.
The houses next to his were torn down because they weren't high enough to qualify for insurance.
Blackburn's stayed put despite the floods; after each time, carefully drying out what we could and tearing out the rest.
“It's very important because of the mold, it's a critical thing. It means you have to go back in and tear the Sheetrock out. I've had it three feet in my house and you have to go in and tear the Sheetrock out, and you have to get the mold out, it's a critical thing,” he said.
The tools are simple - bleach and cleaners. And though it's a lot of work, the Red Cross said many people can get rid of the mold just fine.
“It's mainly a matter of scrubbing. It's kind of getting down on your hands and knees and really scrubbing. If you only have a few inches you really want to scrub the floors, the appliances, the hard surfaces, if it's porous get a brush and really scrub to get out the mold spores that may be growing,” said Ken Garcia with the Tulsa Chapter American Red Cross.
The Red Cross said cleaning works on hard surfaces, but drywall, carpets and furniture usually cannot be cleaned well enough to eliminate the mold.
The Red Cross said the proper way to clean mold is to:
- Keep the room ventilated, if possible.
- Always wear a mask, goggles and gloves.
- To create a cleaning solution, mix one cup of bleach with one gallon of water.
- Wipe down all items that can be cleaned with your bleach solution, and then rinse with plain water. Clean everything, including floors, walls, appliances, doors and any items with hard surfaces.
- Dry anything that is wiped down with clean towels after it has been disinfected.
- If the mold does not disappear right away, repeat the cleaning process 2-5 times. Bleach should not be used on metal items - use warm water and dish soap, if necessary.
If it's something you can't handle yourself, 211 Assistance can get help to help you.