How Fast Does Mold Grow After Water Damage

Although many people think mold is an indication of how dirty an area is, it’s actually an indication of a water issue. Mold is a naturally occurring fungus that decomposes organic materials in the presence of moisture. If your home remains wet after a water leak, flood, or another water event, mold will eventually grow. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to predict how fast mold grows after a leak or water damage.

Have mold after a leak or water damage? Call 1-888-443-3110 now for a free estimate on mold removal from a contractor near you.

How Fast Does Mold Grow?

Mold is a fungus that needs organic material and water to grow. After water damage, mold will grow in as little as 24 to 72 hours under ideal conditions. Even a slow water leak can lead to mold if it’s not addressed quickly.

How Fast Mold Grows Depends On The Conditions

Mold prefers moderate temperatures, the right level of humidity, and low light levels. It prefers a temperature range between 70° F / 21° C and 90° F / 32° C. Humidity is another factor, with levels between 60% and 80% allowing mold to grow faster. It also prefers lower light levels, making dark basements or under-sink cabinets ideal for faster mold growth.

How Fast Mold Grows Depends On The Type of Water

Another factor that impacts how fast mold grows is the type of water involved. There are 3 categories of water, with each posing a different risk of carrying mold. Category 1 is clean water, which poses the lowest risk of causing mold. However, if clean water isn’t dried quickly, mold will eventually appear.

Category 2 is greywater that contains moderate levels of contaminants and includes groundwater flooding and overflowing washers and dishwashers. Category 3 is blackwater from a sewage backup or overflowing toilet. Since both greywater and blackwater carry mold and other contaminants, they greatly increase how fast mold grows.

How Fast Mold Grows Depends On The Materials Involved

Additionally, the materials involved will impact how fast mold will grow. Mold grows faster on musty old cardboard boxes than on well-sealed hardwood floors. Porous materials like drywall, paper products, particleboard, carpeting, and carpet padding are more likely to develop mold within 24 to 48 hours. Mold takes longer to grow on hardwoods and other non-porous materials, with it first appearing 3 or more days after the water appeared.

How to Prevent Mold Growth After Water Damage

Mold will grow fast after water damage, so you need to act quickly. Extract the water using a pump, bucket, or mop within 2 to 4 hours after the incident. For slow leaks, make repairs immediately to stop the flow of water. If you already have mold but can’t see the water source, have a mold removal company inspect the situation.

Cardboard boxes, flooring, carpeting, furniture, walls, and other porous materials will soak up water, so remember to check everything closely. Mold will begin to grow fast if these items remain wet. Throw away items that cannot be saved and move large items like furniture out of the area to facilitate drying.

Ideally, use commercial-grade air movers and dehumidifiers for the fastest drying time. This limits the chances of mold growing or spreading. You can usually get these items from your local equipment rental company for less than $100 per day. You can use regular box fans and household dehumidifiers too, but the room will take longer to dry.

Once the area is dry, clean everything with a mild detergent and wipe them dry. Then disinfect with a solution of bleach and water. Use ¾ quarters of a cup of bleach in a gallon of water. For the best results, spray the bleach solution throughout the area being careful not to stain clothing and fabrics.

Using a bleach solution is a precautionary step to disinfect after a water issue. You should not use bleach to clean mold because the water leak is the real issue. Unless the water source is found and resolved, the mold will eventually reappear no matter how often you clean with bleach.

Fast, Safe Mold Removal After Water Damage

Mold can grow fast if you don’t clean up water quickly. Prevent mold and get your life back to normal with Restoration Local. We have the largest directory of restoration companies, so it’s easy to find a mold removal contractor in your area. Choose from independent companies or the most popular brands like ServiceMaster. For immediate mold removal, call 1-888-443-3110 to speak with our on-call contractor in your area.

Author: Jeff Rooks

Jeff Rooks writes restoration content that helps homeowners restore their lives after a disaster or accident. Most days, you can find him cycling through Tampa. He also enjoys exploring new and delicious food and beverages around the world.

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