How To Clean Up Mold From Behind A Leaking Refrigerator
Refrigerators with built-in ice makers can be good to have around to cool drinks on a hot summer day, but you have to be careful about leaks occurring in the waterline going to the ice maker. A slow leak can go unnoticed for months while the floor and wall behind the refrigerator becomes saturated with moisture. In time, mold can start growing on the wall and floor. You can tell you have mold growing because it normally causes white, brown, or black streaks and dots to appear in the wet areas of the floor and wall. Here is how you can remove the mold caused by a leaking refrigerator.
Waterlines for ice makers on refrigerator typically run from a main line in the basement or under the house to the refrigerator. If there is a shutoff valve on the line, turn the valve to the "off" position. Otherwise, you'll have to turn the water off to the main line and disconnect the line going to the refrigerator from the main line. You will use a plug to screw into the main line to stop any water leaks once you remove the line going to the refrigerator.
Disconnect the waterline from the back of the refrigerator. Unplug the refrigerator from the electrical outlet and move it away from the wall. If there is extensive damage behind and under the refrigerator, you will need to put the refrigerator into another area in the kitchen or house so you can plug it back in to keep things cold while you the damage gets repaired.
Prepare a mixture of bleach and water in a gallon bucket. You only need a cup or two of bleach. Fill the bucket up with warm water until the water gets about a third of the way from the top of the bucket. Put on plastic gloves. You should also wear a breathing mask to prevent the pores of the mold from getting inhaled into your lungs while you are working. You should use a stiff-bristled brush to agitate and remove the mold. Make sure you are constantly dipping and rinsing the brush off in the bucket to get the pieces of the mold off of it and to constantly apply a new batch of the bleach mixture onto the floors and walls.
If the walls and floors are heavily damaged with moisture and mold, you'll usually have to remove the section of drywall or wall board. Cut out the section with of drywall with a utility knife and carefully place it into a plastic garbage bag. Seal the bag and throw it in the trash. You can cut out the section of floor board with a reciprocating or circular saw. Make sure you don't cut through the joists or you could cause a part of the floor to collapse.
You can move the refrigerator back into position after you've cleaned the mold provided the damage to the wall and floor isn't that extensive. If you don't know how to repair the leak and water damage yourself, you should call someone in to re-plumb the waterline going to the refrigerator and fix the physical damage to the drywall and floor boards you had to remove.
For more information about removing mold, contact Air Quality Analysts or a similar company.