How to Clean Mold Caused by Water Damage

Water damage almost inevitably leads to mold on absorbent surfaces, as mold spores travel constantly through the air and become active when exposed to moisture.

If you discover mold on your furniture, flooring, fabrics or other surfaces due to flooding or another form of water damage, take steps immediately to remove the problem. Mold will not simply disappear on its own, and left unattended, it may have adverse effects on your health.

Remove any remaining water. Before you can effectively tackle the mold, you must eliminate the moisture. For mild water damage, you may just need to accelerate the air circulation in the room by opening windows and turning on fans, or by turning on your air conditioner. If the area is moderately damp, dry using a dehumidifier or space heater. For heavy saturation, absorb the surface water using towels and dry using a wet-dry vacuum on a dry setting. For soaked carpeting, replace the padding beneath. In most cases, the padding cannot be salvaged after excessive water damage.

Apply an appropriate disinfectant. For carpets, sprinkle baking soda. For wood furniture, tiles and grout, spray a mixture of four parts chlorine bleach and one part water. For textile furniture, spray with standard laundry detergent that contains ammonia. For leather furniture, use one part rubbing alcohol and one part water. For clothing and fabrics, place in a washing machine with oxygen bleach for colored fabrics or chlorine bleach for white fabrics.

Rinse the cleaning solution away. In the case of carpeting, vacuum rather than rinse. For other surfaces, spray gently with warm water and wipe to dry. You should only spray enough water to effectively wipe away the cleaning agent, so mist gently with your spray bottle.

Place objects in the sun if possible. This will remove any residual moisture from the cleaning process as well any lingering moisture from when the flooding or other water damage occurred. For objects and surfaces that you cannot move, use one of the drying methods described in Step 1. For clothing and other fabrics, you can use a commercial dryer set to a high heat.

Things You Will Need

  • Fans
  • Towels
  • Wet-dry vacuum
  • Dehumidifier
  • Space heater
  • Bleach
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Baking soda
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Laundry detergent
  • Spray bottle
  • Soft cloths