One of the biggest dangers of flooding is the mold and mildew that can develop during the aftermath. Keep in mind that a flood doesn't have to be a major one to cause major fungal infestations, and that water doesn't even have to touch exposed surfaces for mold and mildew to form. Taking immediate action after a flood can help reduce your risk of having mold grow in your home.

Following are three things that you should do after a flood to stop mold and mildew colonies from taking over.

Scrub Surfaces Thoroughly

Scrubbing surfaces such as countertops, shelving,  and cabinets thoroughly with a mixture of hot water and a strong, detergent-based cleaner is the first step in stopping mold and mildew colonies from forming. This will have to be done even in parts of the home, such as kitchen and bathroom cabinetry, where the flood waters haven't physically touched. Mold and mildew spores are airborne, and the humid environment following a flood means that mold and mildew can spread through your living space very quickly. After giving surfaces a thorough scrubbing, treat the area with a hydrogen peroxide solution and allow it soak in for 20 minutes before wiping it clean with cloth dampened with the solution. If possible, open some windows or turn on some fans to help with air circulation.

Take All Fabric Items Outdoors

Take all bedding, upholstered furniture, rugs, and any other affected fabric items outdoors as soon as possible. Spread them apart as much as possible to allow for maximum air circulation. Any fabric surfaces that have come into direct contact with flood waters should be cleaned by a professional flood restoration service. If mattresses, bedding, and clothing have come into direct contact with flood waters, throw the items away.

Wipe Down Your Walls and Ceilings

Wallboard soaks up both water and atmospheric humidity and can act as an almost instant breeding ground for mold and mildew. The areas of the wall that have been touched by flood waters may have to be replaced. Start by wiping down the walls and ceiling with a 10 percent bleach solution -- use a sponge mop to access higher places. Your local restoration remodeling expert may have to remove parts of your wall in order to allow the insulation to dry out.

Keep in mind that these tips are only meant as a front-line defense against the development of mold and mildew in the first several hours following flooding and are not meant to take the place of professional flood damage restoration. For the best results, work with an experienced flood cleanup company.