Hello Karen Lipiatos,
Bummer about the flooding!! Our community has dealt with flooding
and I understand how difficult the clean-up is. The state of Texas
has an online book
that may help with other questions that will come to you.
Mold is the worst and once it gets started, it is almost impossible
to eliminate because the spores will be with you thereafter… just
waiting for favorable conditions to grow. The little buggers are
discharged and carried everywhere by air currents, so the spores are
likely on walls, floors, and other surfaces. All they need is enough
moisture, the right temperature, and some nutrient to grow again.
Control can be achieved by reducing humidity (air conditioning),
reducing or raising ambient temperature (Brrrrr or burning - not
usually an option), removing nutrients (organic matter) or
eliminating the spores.
I like a belt and suspenders approach and would use as many controls
as I could. Most people have the best success with controlling
humidity and scrupulous sanitation. That means removing everything
from the space, and cleaning the room and everything that was in it
by washing down all impervious surfaces with detergent followed by
complete drying. Porous materials (wood, sheet rock, fabric, ceiling
tile, etc.) are best handled by replacement unless moisture is
controlled… for sure! However, at the first sign of moisture, mold
will likely reoccur. No one wants to replace sheet rock, but it
harbors mold forever I think.
Bleach is a good cheap mold killer, but you have to use a strong
solution, which may damage the baffle’s cotton fibers. Are they
replaceable? It may be simpler to do that. Bleach is also unfriendly
(it’s the chlorine) to most metals, so you want to thoroughly rinse
off the bleach solution and immediately dry the surfaces before
applying a protective barrier. Hot dry air is good. Could you bake
your cleaned baffles at the lowest heat in your oven? Might be a good
way to be sure moisture is eliminated. WD-40 is a water displacement
product and may be what you need on metal items. Follow up with rust
Well, that is probably more than you wanted to know. My sympathies
and best wishes in the clean-up!
Judy in Kansas