TOPSAIL ISLAND, NC (WECT) - As Hurricane Florence recovery efforts continue, mold remains a problem for many home and business owners.
Areas like Surf City and Topsail Island are facing major mold issues since residents were not able to dry out their things immediately after the storm.
“We come in, dry out the units, check for mold, which we have a lot of, especially since the homeowners haven’t been able to get in for 7-10 days," said Gerrad Campbell, a project manager with Mold Doctors USA. "In that amount of time, it’s gone from a water damage to mold remediation. We’re coming in, running our air scrubbers, dehumidifiers, trying to control the environment, keep everybody out, and just do what we can to keep it healthy for everybody while we’re doing it.”
Campbell said using bleach is the biggest mistake he sees others make when trying to remove mold.
“Hardware stores are selling bleach with a germicide, but it’s still bleach and bleach is the wrong thing,” Campbell said. "All it does is discolor it. It doesn’t get rid of it, it doesn’t kill it or anything so we actually have to go in, remove it properly, contain it properly, treat it properly and kill it properly. If you don’t do that, it’s going to come back in two to three days.”
Campbell suggests drying out as much as possible, as soon as possible to contain a mold problem.
“The biggest thing is de-humidification," he said. "Get it dry. Get the moisture out of the air. That will actually stop it from growing any worse. If you get that under control, then it stops sporing out and then you can let it dry out, treat it, clean it.
"Soap and water is great, but it’s going to be a process. You’re going to have to treat it many, many times. But stay away from your bleaches because it makes it stronger.”
For large-scale mold removal, like in many of the cases caused by Hurricane Florence, Campbell says using a professional mold removal company is both safer and more effective than attempting to remove it yourself since mold often lies between walls, or in floors and ceilings.
“If you have moisture in your wall, in your dry wall, especially on exterior walls, you’re going to have insulation behind it," Campbell said. “That insulation acts as a sponge, holds that moisture in and doesn’t let it go. In the unit in the building behind us, we actually removed the dry wall and all the sub-floors, trusses, everything are just covered in mold because they weren’t able to get in and this was only after four days.”
Campbell also says wearing suits and respirators while removing bleach is important for avoiding negative health impacts, which can be serious, especially for those with underlying conditions.