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Media Advisory

For Immediate Release: September 19, 2008
Contact: Division of News & Electronic Media, Office of Communication
(404) 639-3286

CDC Urges Caution When Cleaning Up Mold

Moisture and standing water often leads to the rapid appearance of mold on previously flooded surfaces; it may grow on exposed surfaces as well as inside (unseen) surfaces and can form within one to two days after flooding. Mold developing in indoor environments poses a health risk to many people, who may experience stuffy nose, eye irritation, skin irritation, or wheezing. Persons with weakened immune systems or chronic lung diseases (such as obstructive lung disease) may be at increased risk of developing mold infections in their lungs.

How to Safely Clean Up and Prevent Mold Growth:

  • Clean up and dry out the building quickly (within 24-48 hours).
  • Open doors and windows, and run fans to facilitate rapid drying. Fans placed in windows need to blow out.
  • Remove all porous items that have been wet for more than 48 hours and that cannot be thoroughly cleaned and dried.
  • Examples of these items include: carpeting, carpet padding, and upholstery; insulation materials, drywall, and wallpaper; leather, paper, and wood; some clothing.
  • To prevent mold growth, clean wet items and surfaces with detergent and water.
  • To remove mold from hard surfaces, use commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than one cup of bleach per gallon of water. Use a stiff brush on rough surfaces like concrete.
  • When cleaning areas greater than ten square feet, refer to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guide titled: Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings at This guide includes useful information for buildings of all sizes.

When using bleach, keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Follow manufacturer's instructions when using bleach or other cleaning products.
  • Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. Mixing bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners will produce dangerous, toxic fumes.
  • Open windows and doors to provide fresh air.
  • Wear non-porous gloves and protective eye wear.

For more information on personal safety while cleaning up after a natural disaster, visit this web sire

For more information, visit or call 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636).


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