Cleaning Up Your Home After a Storm

Cleaning Up Your Home After a Storm

When it comes to thuderstorms and your home, summertime is when the heat and humidity kicks in, which can lead to some nasty thunderstorms.  The barrage of rain, wind, lightning and even hail can do a number on your home and yard. Here’s how to cope if a bad storm strikes.

Keep an Eye on the Sky

It’s tempting to want to get going on cleaning up, but make sure you wait until weather conditions have improved. Stay up to date with your local forecast or check out NOAA weather.

Avoid Potential Dangers

When cleaning up after a bad storm, look around for hazardous conditions. Here are some tips to avoid potential dangers.

Check the risk. Evaluate what kind of risk you may be facing before you start cleaning up the mess. If an area looks dangerous, stay out of it. Severely damaged structures can be unsafe. Contact your local government for the next steps. You may need a safety inspection before you can enter your home.

Flooded rooms. Stay out of the water. Floodwater can contain dangerous bacteria. It also poses a safety risk if it comes into contact with electrical or gas appliances. If it’s safe to do so, turn off the power and gas lines in your home. If the shut-off valves are in the water, call a professional for assistance.

Ask for Help. If your home is a total loss, call local emergency services for help. Also contact your home insurance company before tackling the damage. If you notice any downed power lines, avoid them. Report them to local police and utility companies.

Wear Proper Protective Gear

When you are ready for clean-up, make sure you are wearing the proper protective gear.  Put on a hard hat, safety goggles, heavy-duty work gloves and waterproof boots.  Long pants and a long-sleeved shirt are also recommended. Put on an N95 respirator mask if you have one.

How to Clean Up Safely

It can take days or weeks to clean up after a severe storm. Here are some safety tips to help you navigate through the clean up process.

Tackling Indoor Cleanup

If your home is safe to enter, check for hazards such as frayed wiring. Sparks and a burning smell can also spell trouble. If there are issues, shut off the power immediately. If you smell gas, turn off the main gas valve.  Evacuate your home until the problems are resolved.

Once you’re out of danger, document your damages by taking photos and videos. Take detailed notes too. This will come in handy when you file your insurance claim.

Be careful not to step on exposed nails or broken glass while you’re exploring around the house. Also, clean up any spilled medicines, flammable liquids or potentially hazardous materials you find.

Next, set aside piles for different types of storm debris. These can include electronics, large appliances, hazardous and household waste, and construction materials. This will make clean-up and trash pick-up easier.

Safe Outdoor Cleanup

When you are ready to assess the yard damage,  take a look at your trees. Pick up any fallen branches and remove any dangling ones. Get them out of the way so you don’t trip over them. If you have the experience, grab a chainsaw for some tree trimming. Follow proper safety protocols before you begin, including ensuring the tree isn’t touching any power lines. If the tree is too large to handle, call in a pro to do the work.

Once the yard is safe to clean up, grab some trash bags. Pick up any loose debris. Use a shovel or rake to collect the yard waste. Put it in a heavy-duty trash bag. Be sure to clean out your gutters to keep them from clogging up. Check the roof as well. High winds, flying debris and fallen trees can damage your shingles.

Prepare for Outages

Have a plan in case the power goes out. Use battery-powered lanterns or flashlights to see in the dark. Avoid using candles. Keep extra batteries on hand to power up flashlights and portable radios. Purchase a portable charger for your phone. Disconnect appliances and electronics to prevent damage from electrical surges. Have non-perishable food on hand. Keep refrigerators and freezers closed.

You can use a generator for emergency power, but don’t turn it on during severe weather or in wet conditions. Run it only outdoors several feet away from the house.

Let Us Clean Up the Mess

When it comes to home disasters,  Flood Department is here to help. We provide repair and clean-up services for homeowners and businesses. We are dedicated to helping reverse the damage done by water, mold, sewage, smoke and more. We cover Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Contact us today at 301-829-2600 or visit us online.


How to Clean and Remove Black Mold

Remove Black Mold

Wet areas in our homes, like bathrooms and kitchens, are ideal spots for mold to grow. Black mold is especially troublesome when it thrives where we live. Not only is it unsightly, but it can also cause health issues. Here are some proven ways to remove black mold and win the battle.

Common Household Molds

There are three common types of mold found in our homes that can have health effects.

Allergenic molds are the kinds that kick up allergies. Signs of a mold allergy include itching in the nose, eyes or throat; stuffy nose, sneezing and coughing. These molds can be safely removed with disinfecting products.

A pathogenic mold is one that can cause an infection in humans, even if they are healthy. This type of mold can reproduce and colonize inside the human body. It can be controlled with disinfectants, but large colonies in the home require professional treatment.

Toxic molds produce mycotoxins known to harm humans. Prolonged exposure to high levels can lead to neurological problems and possibly death. These molds require professional treatment and affected items must be removed. Toxic black mold can be dangerous when it’s inhaled or ingested, possibly resulting in serious respiratory problems.

What is Black Mold

Black mold looks like black stains or dots growing in irregular circular patterns. It’s most often found in homes that have been exposed to excessive amounts of water and humidity. Toxic black mold, also known as stachybotrys chartarum, can also have a grayish, soot-like texture, or a slimy, wet surface. Sometimes, it has a greenish-black hue.

Skilled DIYers can remove small patches themselves, but the job is best left to the pros. The EPA recommends mold colonies that cover more than 10 square feet be professionally removed.

Black Mold Removal

If you spot black mold, clean it up immediately. If it’s left to sit on a surface, small colonies will grow larger in just a few days. Areas prone to high humidity should be checked weekly for signs of mold growth.

So, how do you get rid of black mold? Before you start cleaning, open doors and windows to ensure adequate ventilation. Next, put on rubber gloves, eye protection and old clothes that can be tossed. Make sure you wear a face mask too. You will also want a spray bottle for the cleaning solution. 

Black Mold Cleaning Solutions

The first step you should take to remove mold is to scrub the affected area with soap and water. It may be all you need to remove surface mold. If the problem is more extensive, here are some other cleaning solutions you can try.

A diluted bleach solution. This works to remove mold growing on white surfaces and non-porous ones, such as countertops and tiles. If the mold doesn’t come off right away, let the solution soak in for at least 15 minutes, then wipe it off.

White vinegar. This is best to use when mold has seeped into a surface. Vinegar will penetrate and kill the mold and mildew at the root.

Natural cleaners. There are natural cleaners  in your pantry you can use to kill mold. Baking soda has successfully removed black mold from grout between tiles. Tree tea oil, a natural fungicide, can also do the trick. Just mix a teaspoon of it with one cup of water. Hydrogen peroxide has antifungal and antibacterial properties that remove mold and keep it from coming back.

Let Us Clean Up the Mess

If you have a mold problem,  Flood Department is here to help. We provide repair and clean-up services for homeowners and businesses. We are dedicated to helping reverse the damage done by water, mold, sewage, smoke and more. We cover Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. For more information, call us at 301-829-2600 or visit us online.