“How to Prevent Mold from Growing After a Flood in Your Home” part 4 Saving Your Belongings – Mold Prevention

Drying Contents

Important Safety Note: Contents affected by unsanitary water sources such as sewer water and overland flood waters (Category-3 water) should be Disposed of except in some cases where decontamination is possible. Decontamination is only recommended for nonporous materials like glassware.

Like in most cases of water damaged/wet materials, contents should be dried as soon as possible. Doing so will drastically increase your chances of salvaging these effected contents. In most cases waiting 24 hours may be too long depending on the type of materials.

It is always best practice to inspect materials before making efforts to dry. Some materials like particle board furniture, and paper products will be permanently disfigured do to swelling and warping because of getting wet and/or sitting in standing water.

Important Note: avoid placing contents directly on finished surfaces like carpet and flooring and furniture. Instead, place contents on Styrofoam blocks and/or clear (non colored) vapour barrier type materials. Doing so will ensure that dye transfer stains, furniture stains, wood stains and rust stains will not be transferred to finished materials.

Its best to separate wet contents from dry contents and move wet contents to a designated drying area. Spread contents out so that air can come in contact with all surfaces if possible. Using a dryer fan(s) and dehumidifiers(s) will be necessary to dry contents quickly before mould, fungi and bacteria has a chance to establish itself on wet surfaces.

Sensitive wet documents, books, and paper products can be stored in a freezer to prevent unwanted mould and bacteria growth prior to drying, doing so will give you time so that you can dry these paper products as conditions allow. Through sublimation water damaged materials such as paper products will dry to a certain degree in a freezer further aiding your efforts to salvage these wet materials.

Absorbent and ultra porous materials like textiles, clothing, bedding, throw pillows, area rugs and upholstered furniture like sofas and chairs should be extracted to remove the bulk of the water. By removing as much of the excess water in advance will drastically increase the effectiveness of drying. Failing to remove access water can result in unwanted fungal and/or bacterial growth.

Contrary to popular belief it is not good practice to introduce heaters to dry water damaged contents or building materials. Heaters often pose a significant fire risk and can cause unwanted shrinking and disk configuration of materials.  

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