Pre Construction cleaning and treatment

Prepare surfaces

Remove any remaining nails or screws from studs or ceiling joists. Brush ceiling, studs and exterior walls with a bristle broom or hand brush to remove all invisible insulation and pieces of drywall and loosen mold spores. Work from top to bottom.

After wood framing is thoroughly brushed or scraped, carefully vacuum all surfaces. Use a corner tool to access tight spaces.

Vacuum all surfaces

Clean everything with a high-quality vaccum cleaner and wait for one hour to let dust and spores previously in the air to settle, then reclean any remaining visible areas of mold growth following this method. In homes where studs are already fairly dry, we recommend only the dry clean- ing/HEPA vacuum step for wood studs. Wet cleaning should be skipped.

Wet clean wooden surfaces (optional)

Damp wipe with a nonphosphate detergent (e.g., Savogran® TSP- PF) and wash all remaining wood surfaces such as studs, backs of exterior walls and floors where visible mold growth cannot be removed through dry cleaning. Follow the instructions on the package for preparation. Starting at the ceiling, wipe with sponge mops and hand sponges until all visible dirt and stains are removed.

During damp wiping, use the least amount of water wood does become very wet, let it dry completely before taking the next steps. Wet surfaces that do not get fully dry may have new mold growth.

CLEANING TERMS:

Wet Cleaning:

Bleach may damage wood and some metallic surfaces and is less effective on porous surfaces like unpainted wood. On these materials, cleaning with a nonphosphate deter- gent (e.g., Savogran® TSP-PF) is recommended. Do not use detergents with trisodium phosphate (TSP). Follow manufacturer’s directions for mixing the solution. Always allow surface to completely dry after washing. Brushes and sponges used for cleaning should be discarded at the end of the job.

Disinfection:

Hard, nonporous surfaces that have been in flood waters may be contaminated with bacteria. Any materials that will be kept should be disinfected. Use a solution of one cup liquid chlorine bleach to one gallon water, plus non- phosphate detergent for cleaning and disinfect- ing. Never mix bleach and ammonia. Throw away any unused bleach solution at the end of the day because it loses effectiveness with time. Never spray bleach and be sure to wear rubber gloves and eye protection.

Liquid chlorine bleach is recommended for disinfection on: refrigerators, work surfaces, garbage disposals, freezers, sinks, appliances, plastic laminate, stoves, stovetops, countertops, (ceramic) tile floors or countertops, vinyl, lino- leum, solid surface countertops, glass, garbage cans, trash cans, trash compactors, latex enamel painted woodwork and faucets. Brushes and sponges used for cleaning should be discarded at the end of the job.

THREE BUCKET CLEANING SYSTEM

1. Pump sprayer contains detergent (do not use sprayer for bleach)

2. Rinse bucket ~ should be changed frequently

3. Squeeze wringer bucket for dirty water

4. 32 oz mop head ~ clean or replace frequently

Disinfect all hard surfaces

surfaces that will remain in the home. Damp wipe all vinyl/tile floors, with liquid chlorine bleach and water bleach to one gallon of water. Never mix bleach and ammonia. row away any unused bleach solution at the end of the day because it loses effectiveness overnight.

Treat surfaces with borate solution

Measure wood surfaces for moisture content with a moisture meter. Once the moisture content is less than 15 percent, it is ready for the application of a borate solution.Wash or mist the open wall cavities with a borate solution (e.g., anti-termites) prepared to the manufacturer’s directions for wood fungi. Although these products are more expensive than household bleach, borate solutions do not corrode or whiten, so are safer to use around metals and valuable wood products. Borates also soak into wood more effectively. For best coverage, apply borate solutions with a pump up tank sprayer. A paint brush, paint roller, or trigger spray bottle may also be used. is treatment has the added advantage of discouraging termite infestations.

Dry out the building

Make sure that the home is allowed to completely dry before beginning restoration. Depending on how dry the home is before the clean-up work begins, natural ventilation may produce a dry home in a couple of weeks or a few months.

If electricity is available, use fans, dehumidifiers or window air conditioners to help speed drying. Have the contractor who will restore the home check the moisture content of wood framing to be sure it is dry before beginning to close in walls or finish flooring. Wood studs or framing with less than 15 percent moisture content are considered dry. Using the applicator tube to soak the end grain of a stud The borate treatment will last many years if applied correctly. It will protect the house from mold, termites and wood rot. Many of the most important spots to treat are the hardest to reach. This is particularly true of the end- grain of structural members that butt against another structural member (for example studs against top and bottom plates). Most anti-termites supplies an injector set for a pump sprayer including a 3/32” tube for spraying into crevices, and a second tube that can be used to spray into voids accessed by drilling a 1/8” hole.

Treat remaining wood studs with fungicidal coating (optional)

Before beginning reconstruction, paint dried wooden studs and beams with a low toxicity fungicidal pro- Sealer as final treatment to prevent mold growth.

Source: Manoj Nair

Manoj Nair has been a journalist for nearly 15 years, working for several leading Indian publications The Economic Times, Outlook and Hindustan Times. He is also a guest lecturer at University Arts London and is currently working on the history of Indian rock music to be published by Harper Collins in 2019. He lives and works in Kochi.