Entering a basement storage room and being greeted by the musty odor of mildew is disheartening at best. This is especially true if you haven't been in the room for a while -- who knows how long the moisture has been seeping in? If you had moisture-sensitive items in the room, like fabrics or furniture, you may be worried about damage. The following information may give you hope:
Empty the room safely
Moving everything out of the basement to an area where the things can dry is important, but keep in mind that mold can cause irritation and respiratory issues. Before trying to salvage anything, it's important to invest in gloves and a dust mask. You may also want eye protection to guard against irritation. Once everything is out of the basement, wipe down any hard surfaces with a diluted bleach solution. This will help to kill the mold and begin the stain removal process. Soft surfaces and fabrics will need to be professionally shampooed or dry cleaned to remove the mold and staining.
Start airing out the basement
It can be hard to dry out an underground room, which is why moisture it's such an issue in basements. Open any windows that you do have in the basement if the weather is dry. It's also a good idea to rent industrial strength fans to further help dry out the room. If your basement is finished, you may need to remove any carpeting or drywall; removing mold from carpet can be extremely difficult, and drywall tends to turn to wet clay after extensive moisture issues. Consult with a water damage restoration company for more help if this is the case.
Solve the problem
Once the room is dry, hard surfaces will require a bleach treatment to prevent mold from growing. You will also have to figure out where the water is coming from; for example, leaks in the foundation must be repaired. If the issue is just general moisture seeping through the concrete, you may need to have the basement sealed. Sometimes you simply need to have exterior drains installed to route water away.
Trying to fix everything, from damaged belongings to the leaking basement itself, without professional help is likely not to go well. Unless the damage is very minor, it can be very difficult to remove mold and mildew stains. For more help, contact a water damage restoration service in your area. They will have the knowledge and equipment to help.
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