Last week a historic storm hit us here on Long Island with record breaking rainfall in a very short amount of time. The streets quickly filled with water, entering cars, homes and businesses leaving a soggy mess with a lingering, musty, mildew odors that just wont seem to go away. Luckily, we have some tips to keep those odors at bay.
The first step is to toss out any wet papers or cardboard. Items like photographs or important papers can be dried out but keep in mind that these items can hold mildew spores and will keep the smell in the air. Fabric and other washable items should be removed and washed on a hot cycle with a cup of vinegar and a green detergent. Non-washable items like carpet and furniture should be steam cleaned by a professional.
Clean all washable hard surfaces with any of the following (test a small area for colorfastness)
- Full strength white vinegar
- Lemon juice and water (might lighten colored surfaces)
- Soap and water
- After cleaning with any of the above, sprinkle baking soda on entire area and allow to dry completely then vaccum/sweep.
Once you have cleaned the area, it is time help the drying process along. Open the windows, turn on the fans and get a quality de-humidifier. Mold and mildew are not as likely to grow and spread in a dry area. There are chemical dehumidifiers on the market that help pull the moisture out of the air but they can take a long time to work. It could take several days to dry out the area if major flood damage has occurred. If this is the case, it is best to call a professional restoration specialist.
MIldew odors are unpleasant and can be difficult to completely remove. Here are a few tips to try out while the damaged areas dry out. All are natural and non-toxic but should still be kept out of reach from both children and pets.
- Place shallow bowls filled with full strength white vinegar OR baking soda wherever the odor resides. Keep them out until the odor is completely gone.
- Combine 2 tbsp. of tea tree or lemon essential oil with 2 cups of cool water in a clean spray bottle and spray the mixture in the air where musty odors reside and on washable surfaces and fabrics. Allow to air dry. Repeat as necessary.
- Combine 20 drops of the grapefruit, orange or sage essential oil to 2 cups of cool water into a clean spray bottle. and gently swirl. Spray and let dry.
- Create sachets of cedar chips or dried lavender and hang in musty areas.