Water damage can happen on any property and at any time. Often, it happens when you’ve experienced flooding, a storm, or even a terrible pipe burst. Such a situation can distress any homeowner.

However, what’s even more concerning is the terrible mold growth that can follow. Water damage causes excessive mildew, which may become an unpleasant case of mold infestation within 48 hours.

Mold is not just unsightly; it can interfere with everything. It can lead to extensive property damage and make your home uncomfortable. But what’s even worse is the severe respiratory health problems you and your family can develop.

This is why you need to be proactive when you experience water damage. This article will discuss how mold grows. We will also share the necessary steps to prevent mold growth after water damage on your South Florida property.

How Does Mold Develop After Water Damage?

The microorganisms that become mold colonies are tiny but always present in the air. They just need the combination of some elements to form destructive colonies. They need:


This is the most necessary element for mold colonies. Water, either in liquid or airborne form, attracts mold.

A humidity level above 60 percent can encourage or nurture mold growth. So, when you experience water damage, your home already has the most vital element to trigger mold growth.


High humidity means high temperature. So a temperature between 45°- 140° Fahrenheit is needed for mold to grow.


Mold needs food to feast on and a surface to rest. Hence, it pounces on a lot of household items. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mold usually grows on wood, glue, paper products, cardboard, and ceiling tiles.

It will also grow in dust or loose debris, carpet and rugs, fabric, paints, drywall, and all kinds of upholstery. This includes your HVAC system.


You may not notice mold growth immediately after the water damage. Yet, mold typically takes 24-48 hours to gain enough power after water damage. But if you can visibly see mold actions or growth, it has likely settled there for more than twelve days.

So, to prevent mold, you have to act faster than you think is necessary.


Mold needs oxygen to grow. However, you can’t completely get rid of oxygen. You need intense ventilation to prevent or remove mold.

So, when you experience water damage, you must work against all these elements to contain the situation. This will mean acting quickly to remove moisture, keeping your home well-ventilated, and removing soaked surfaces where mold can breed.

Tips to Prevent Mold After Water Damage

Here are some steps to prevent mold on your property after water damage.

Fix the Underlying Cause

The first step is to find the cause of the water damage and solve the problem. For example, shut off the water valve and get a technician to fix the pipe under your basement.

This will stop continuous water damage and allow you to work on the problem.

Dry Everything Thoroughly

It’s only logical that you dry out the water after you experience water damage. However, this isn’t just some simple process of mopping up water. You have to go the extra mile and pay attention to specific things.

Drain Water

You should start with the visible water. Use mops and buckets to dry the floors and all wet surfaces. But note that using buckets can be labor-intensive.

If the water damage is bad, it’s best to borrow a wet-dry vacuum from the nearest hardware store. This equipment can pump out up to 10 gallons of water per minute, depending on the make.

This helps take out the most imposing concern, and you can start to resolve the issue slowly.

Remove all Rugs, Carpet, and Flooring

The next step is to remove any damp flooring and take it into the sun to dry. Mold can quickly grow under carpets. They provide a warm and moist place for nurture.

It can be even worse if your floors are stone-tiled or have grooves. If the water damage is minimal, you can dry your flooring with store-bought targeted cleaners or baking soda.

However, if the damage is extensive, you can’t afford to handle it carelessly. It’s best to call in professionals and discard anything that can breed mold. The U.S. Federal Emergency Agency (FEMA) recommends discarding any soaked or moldy carpeting and all possibly contaminated food products.

Use Towels to Dry Surfaces

You’ll need as many towels as possible for this. Towels absorb water, so you can lay them on surfaces and furniture. Then, you can squeeze out the water and wipe down the areas.

It’s best to do this with both surfaces that don’t appear to have absorbed water and those that usually have water. For example, you should wipe down your bathroom floors, kitchen sink, and window sills.

Minimize Moisture and Spread Air

Remember that mold thrives in warm and moist environments, so you should get as much dry air as possible flowing.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends getting the relative humidity of your home to below 60 percent to avoid mold growth.

The best way to do this is to bring out all dehumidifiers and fans. Dehumidifiers draw warm and moist air in and release drier and cooler air. Also, dehumidifiers reach areas that you ordinarily can’t access with towels.

You may also need fans to dry up the area faster. The more you have, the better. But you should avoid plugging your fan into sockets in moist areas to prevent an accident.

However, avoid turning on your HVAC unit. HVACs collect moisture. So, they can also harbor molds. Turning them on can help mold travel around your home faster.

Clean and Disinfect Your Property

The next step is to clean and disinfect everything in your home. Whether it’s a lead pipe burst or a flood, porous materials may be present in the water. So, you must disinfect your house to ensure no bacteria are left.

For this, you’ll need disinfectant with 10% bleach, hot water, gloves and mask, ammonia-free detergent, and pine oil cleaner.

Here are some tips to help you disinfect properly.

  • Wear your gloves and masks.
  • Create extra space in the room by moving furniture around or outside.
  • Throw all damp fabrics in the washing machine with detergent. Set the temperature high.
  • For other porous materials, you can use pine-oil cleaner. But if the damage is terrible, it’s safer to discard the fabrics.
  • Wash non-porous materials (wood, metal, plastic, glass) with a scrub brush, hot water, and ammonia-free detergent.
  • Disinfect the area with a 10 percent bleach solution, and wait for a few minutes. Rinse with clean water and allow the surfaces to dry.

FEMA recommends that you dry the items completely. You should also monitor them closely in case of mold growth. While biocides are powerful, you can’t use them carelessly. Customer-grade disinfectants will serve you just as well when disinfecting.

Replace Damaged Items and Revamp

While you may be able to dry out some products, you should prepare to replace several items.

For example, if your pillow appears soggy or your carpet is shrinking, it’s best to dispose of it.

Waiting until you spot actual mold can be costly; you will only lose more to mold growth.

Call In Professionals

Cleaning and drying your items at home isn’t always possible, especially if the water damage is from flooding. Imagine the stress of having to spare time for all these steps while still sorting through other things.

Even worse, you must complete it in just a few days. Secondly, there’s no guarantee that some items won’t still grow mold after all your work.

However, calling in professionals may help you save more items. Professionals can clean up better, kill bacteria, save more things, and get your home back in a liveable condition sooner.

A mold remediation company will use EPA-approved biocides to prevent mold growth in all corners of your home. Since they will work on all rooms, including seemingly unaffected areas, the chances of mildew or mold growth are meager.

What Should I Do If I Find Mold After Water Damage?

One would want to be optimistic that all these steps will keep mold off. However, this is not always the case.

You must stay alert and check for mold growth, especially if you clean up yourself. In this case, it’s crucial to act fast. You can attempt cleaning up mold yourself, but the EPA warns against this if the affected area is more than 10 square feet.

This is because you can spread mold or even inhale toxic substances that will affect your health.

So, when this happens, the best thing is to call a professional mold remediation company. Then, you can have the mold growth removed immediately and enjoy liveable conditions again.

Contact Erica's Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Restoration

Cleaning up water damage is not as simple as you think. You must watch out for many things at once and use state-of-the-art tools to get the best result.

Therefore, mold prevention and removal requires the right team of professionals to do an effective job.

If you are in South Florida, our team of licensed technicians at Erica's Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Restoration can help you get rid of dangerous mold levels in your home.

We also provide HVAC cleaning services and repair all kinds of water leaks. We are a women-owned business in Boca Raton, and we respond 24/7. Contact us here to get a quote.

Related Content: What Kind of Water Damage Does Insurance Cover in Florida?

company icon