Normally a fashion stylist isn't the first person I'd go to for cleaning advice—unless we're talking spot-cleaning couture—but it makes sense if that stylist is Lisa Powers, whose family has owned industrial cleaning supply source Crown Paper & Chemical in Conroe for over three decades. And when it comes to cleaning and disinfecting homes that have been hosting floodwaters, Powers says Mr. Clean and other grocery store stuff is not good enough.
After seeing Powers dispensing advice and recommendations to friends on Facebook, we prodded her for more information about the best products for this massive, city-wide cleaning job. To find them, you may have to check hardware stores like Home Depot or sanitary or janitorial supply stores—but if they can help salvage your, it's worth it.
Simple Green D Pro 5 One-Step Disinfectant
This is a mildewstat disinfectant cleaner, which means that it will effectively kill the growth of mold and mildew as well as the odors they cause. It should be used first before treating with enzyme (see below). It's about preventing nasty stuff that could come. Bleach does a lot of the same things, but it's also quite harsh and doesn't do half the job that these products do. When using them, it's imperative that users wear gloves and keep plenty of hand sanitizer on hand at all times.
Digester by Nilodor
Powers says the is the number-one product she recommends. It's a liquid live bacteria, a natural organic live enzyme that literally consumes mold and mildew as well as odorous bacteria. It's safe on just about any surface except wood or any delicate fabrications like curtains or upholstery, where it can leave spots. It can be used in laundry, however—just spray on clean clothing before drying.
After cleaning and disinfecting the effected area, spray this liberally over the entire area and just let dry! Do not rinse—that stops the enzymes from doing their work. If you have pulled up carpet/padding, use this in a pump up sprayer over the foundation underneath. It can also be injected into padding if you are able to salvage it.
If you are removing sheet rock, make sure all damaged materials are gone and then just spray liberally and let dry. You may have to treat more than once depending on how porous the surface is. The telltale sign that it's done its work is that when the product's own fragrance has evaporated, there should be no odor. No smell is a good smell.
Rubbermaid Web Foot Wet Mop
This is a bacteria-resistant washable mop head. When mopping areas where water has been standing—even after extraction and clean up—it's important to have a clean mop going from space to space. I recommend buying several to prevent cross contamination.
Air Mover/Floor Dryer Fan
It's so important to keep the air circulating so the moisture diminishes! They come in multiple sizes and can run at various speeds. After extraction of water, run these for at least half a day to make sure that all the moisture has dried. Water/dampness is the enemy and should be dealt with first.