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As Mississippi River swells downstream, ServiceMaster Clean provides do’s and don’ts when dealing with drenched homes and businesses

May 11, 2011 | ServiceMaster Clean

As Mississippi River swells downstream, ServiceMaster Clean provides do’s and don’ts when dealing with drenched homes and businesses

As Mississippi River swells downstream, ServiceMaster Clean provides do’s and don’ts when dealing with drenched homes and businesses

MEMPHIS, Tenn. May 11, 2011 – As the “Mighty Mississippi” rages southward, cities and towns along this massive waterway brace for the worst. The river crested yesterday morning in Memphis, and forecasters predict the water is not going to recede for weeks.  

If there is a residential or commercial loss – no matter the size – ServiceMaster Clean is ready to provide rapid response 24/7/365. With a fleet of vehicles and an army of first responders (vans, dryer trucks, on-site mobile command center, experts with proven credentials and a nationwide network of owners), ServiceMaster Clean and ServiceMaster Recovery Management give you the power to get your home or business back to normal as quickly as possible. For businesses impacted by flooding, please contact 1-866-RECOVER (732-6837) or for residential services, please call 1-800-RESPOND (737-7663) to reach a disaster restoration specialist in your area. 

Flooding, especially in warmer areas, can create the perfect environment for mold. But mold isn’t the only concern when returning home following a flood. Pete Duncanson, director of training and technical support for ServiceMaster Clean’s disaster restoration service, recommends wearing protective clothing before entering a flood-damaged home.

“The potential for mold is there, but you have other bacteria that enter the building as the waters rise,” said Duncanson. “Wear long sleeves and pants, wear gloves and boots, and if you do have a large presence of mold – you smell that earthy scent in the air – you may want to wear a respirator.”

Dry or discard wet items within 24-48 hours to avoid mold. Even after wet items are removed, mold may remain hidden in drywall, carpeting and HVAC systems. While bleach may be used to control mold, it does not kill it.

“Removing mold requires cutting away damp drywall and sanding wood,” said Duncanson. “Mold is nature’s recycling agent, it eats things. The sooner a remediation expert can get to those things covered in mold the less long-term damage.”

Tips from the Disaster Restoration Experts


What to do when your home or business suffers water damage:


  • If the outside temperature is above 60 degrees, use dehumidifiers if available.
  • Use fans to circulate the air and assist drying.
  • Remove as much water as possible by mopping and blotting.
  • Wipe furniture dry.
  • Lift draperies off carpet, loop through a coat hanger, and place the hanger on the drapery rod.
  • Prop up wet furniture cushions for even drying and place small wood blocks or aluminum foil under furniture legs.
  • Remove wet area rugs or other floor coverings and open furniture drawers, closet doors, and luggage to enhance drying.
  • Move photos, paintings, and art objects to a safe, dry location.
  • Remove wet fabrics and dry them as soon as possible. Hang furs and leather goods to dry separately at room temperature.
  • Remove damp books from shelves and spread out to dry.
  • If damage occurs during a cool season, leave heat on; if in summer, use an air conditioner if available.

Important warnings on water damage:


  • Do not use an ordinary household vacuum to remove water.
  • Do not use electrical appliances while on wet carpet or wet floors.
  • Do not go into rooms with standing water if the electricity is still on.
  • Do not lift tacked down carpet without professional help. Lifting the carpet incorrectly could promote shrinkage.
  • Do not wait to call for professional help. Damage from the water and bacteria growth can begin within hours.

Important warnings on mold:


  • Remove damp items from the home within 24 to 48 hours. Throw away any wet items you don’t consider valuable. The replacement cost may be less than restoration, but another brand in the ServiceMaster family, Furniture Medic may be able to restore treasured wood furnishings and antiques. 
  • Never mix bleach with other cleaning products. The combination of chemicals may create toxic fumes
  • Avoid direct contact with affected mold areas as much as possible. Wear protective clothing while sifting through items that were beneath the flood waters or where mold has begun to spread.


Michael Bielskis
901-597-6886 (d)

901-491-6330 (c)

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