Mold, also known as fungus, piles up on organic objects like books, cloth, leather, paper, and pictures. Mold grows from the spores where you can find anywhere. Basically, these spores are inactive but grow and germinate when relative humidity goes beyond 70%.
When there is property damage due to flood, one of the first things you must do is to avoid further damage as a result of growth of molds. The following are useful tips:
What You Should Look For?
An active mold growth is slimy or hairy and they are usually comes in green, orange, black, or purple. Inactive mold is dry and powdery and can be white. The mold may appear like a fine we during its early stages while it will look bushy when it is in complete bloom. The mold spores multiply easily and they are brought by air currents, pets and even people.
How to Stop the Mold from Multiplying?
- Work quickly because with the right conditions, molds can multiply and increase really fast.
- Reduce humidity and temperature since mold cannot grow in low temperature and low relative humidity. You can open the windows when the outside humidity is lesser compared to inside, or you can use air conditioning. Installing dehumidifiers and emptying them always can help a lot in controlling and preventing molds from growing.
- Keep away objects that are susceptible to molds by sealing your trash in plastic bags and get rid of them right away. You can save on objects when they are dried or frozen. Freezing method can inactivate the molds.
- Always keep your place clean. Molds stay on the shelves and in cupboards where objects are kept. Clean the surfaces of these places with disinfectant like Lysol, and then increase air circulation in the room. After moldy objects are removed, use fans. Clean all display and storage places clean.
How Can You Save Moldy Objects?
- Clean the mold only after it is dried and become inactive. Wipe or brush away the mold residues gently. Work outdoors when it is possible and always wear protective clothing and respirator.
- Air dry moldy objects and keep them away from other items. Spread out papers and stand books on end and fan the pages open. You can increase air circulation with the use of fan but do not aim the fan directly at the items. Use blotting items such as clean towels or absorbent paper between the layers of the paper or cloth.
- Even though ultraviolet light can be harmful, a brief exposure to sunlight can prevent the growth of molds and helps in drying process. Take note that the exposure must not go beyond 30 minutes.
- If you cannot dry the objects fast or if you have big quantity to dry, then you can freeze documents, books and other tiny textiles until the conditions are appropriate to dry them. Never freeze moldy pictures.
- Avoid using harsh cleaning products and bleach because they can destroy objects. Do not vacuum delicate objects and use household vacuum cleaner outdoors because the exhaust can spread the mold spores.
- Make sure that the display and storage places are free of mold before returning clean items to its proper places. Inspect and check again the objects regularly for any new growth of molds.
- The valuable artifacts and pictures must be taken care of by a professional conservator.