Preventing Mold and Mildew

The Genesee County Health Department advises that, with winter's thaw of ice and snow comes the probability of basements flooding and roofs leading for many New York residents. Along with water comes mold and mildew.

Molds are a natural part of our environment, but can multiply to high levels if moisture and growth conditions are present. The Health Department warns that exposure to molds can bring on allergic reactions and make you sick.

Mildew is a living organism that grows with warmth and humidity. It is the common name for various molds. It tends to have a fuzzy appearance and may be white, rust, green or, more commonly, black. 

Moisture is necessary for mold to grow. Mold can grow on building materials, such as ceiling tiles, wallboard and carpet padding. The most important step you can take is to eliminate the source of water and then dry any wet materials, advised the Health department. Use ventilation fans and dehumidifiers in bathrooms and kitchens to help control moisture. You should also:

  • Fix leaky roofs and pipes immediately
  • Replace water damaged or moldy insulation, rotted wood and stained ceiling tiles
  • Dry or replace wet carpets and padding
  • Disinfect hard surfaces such as counter tops, appliances and tile floors with a 10 percent bleach solution.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also suggests the use of disinfectants on the duct work of your heating and air conditioning systems if it has been flooded.

For a FREE copy of the booklet, Repairing Your Flooded Home, contact your local chapter of the American Red Cross. Read the booklet carefully, because it has useful suggestions about flood safety.