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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Removing Mold and Odor from Flooding

By Dr. Laundry January 7, 2010

Q. I have an area that was flooded months ago and didn’t get cleaned up. I am planning on spraying all surfaces with a bug sprayer containing 50% bleach and 50% water. This area will be remodeled so the main problem is eliminating the mold and odor.

A. It’s always a good idea to attack and remove any mold/mildew problems before proceeding with remodeling. I wasn’t quite sure from your description which of the following situations best fit you.

So a couple of things for you to consider in moving forward with your plan;

  • You definitely are too aggressive in your Clorox® Regular-Bleach1 usage; the liquid bleach active is strong enough that you won’t need that concentrated of a mixture. Follow the recommendations above, but be prepared that one application may not be sufficient.
  • Consider some pre-cleaning: Using a detergent solution to help clean away some of the mud/yuck will allow the bleach to better attack the mold/mildew. You can mix and apply with your sprayer.
  • Clorox® Regular-Bleach1 can be corrosive to internal metal parts of the sprayer. We use special parts in our triggers of Clorox® Clean-Up ® + Bleach spray for this reason. If you use your bug sprayer, make sure you thoroughly rinse it with clear water immediately after spraying or consider using another sprayer.
  • If the area is enclosed, make sure you open any windows/doors to promote good air flow. The liquid bleach will be reacting with a lot of stuff and the reaction products might be smelly. Also consider using gloves for your hands and wearing some old clothes that you won’t mind getting messed up if the bleach solution is accidentally sprayed on them.
  • Finally, with the mold in the area, I would be wearing a face mask to minimize any lung contact from airborne spores.