ISLIP - Professional cleaners are offering tips to residents whose homes are affected by this week's historic flooding.

Mold is one of several unwanted side effects of the flooding, especially in basements that took in large amounts of water.

Experts warn residents to dry out their basements as soon as possible, throwing out what they think should be discarded and salvaging what they can. They say mold can hide just about anywhere, including inside walls, on furniture and in anything else that can retain water. If mold is left to fester, it can pose a serious health hazard.

Bill Simone, of Healthy Basements, says dehumidifiers and blowers are recommended to quickly dry basements, and the first things that should be thrown out are wet boxes. He says wet areas should be treated with anti-mold spray.

If sheet rock was soaked, Simone says it needs to be inspected and likely removed.

Simone says the mold can form anywhere from 48 to 72 hours after flooding occurs, and it is paramount to dry a basement within this period. He recommends calling a mold specialist within a week or so of flooding to check for potential problems.