The destructive nature of fire is no secret to anyone. Fire can cause significant damage to your home and other belongings. Moreover, the smoke soot can seriously stain the walls, furniture, and fixtures that were not burned by flames.
Cleaning a house damaged by smoke is important to provide a healthy living environment for all the occupants. Smoke and soot contain unpleasant particles and odors that are very harmful to breathe. If you are wondering how you can get that smell of smoke out of your house after the firefighters have extinguished the flames, read on as we tell you how to clean up your home after smoke damage.
Start by Ventilating the Home
The first thing you need to do is open up all the windows and doors of your home. This will allow fresh air to flow inside the home as the smoke odors leave. You should also use fans to encourage better airflow. Make sure that your HVAC system is off as it can cause the soot and smoke to spread around your home through the vents.
Wear Protective Gear
Put on proper protective gear before you start cleaning your home. Smoke, debris, and soot can cause health problems if inhaled. So, don’t enter your home without wearing a respirator, especially if there’s significant soot present in the area. Keep your skin covered with long sleeves and pants. Eye protection and gloves are also a must.
Since you’ll be freeing soot as you rub and clean the walls, it is important to remove any household objects and furniture that hasn’t been damaged. If the smoke damage is limited to a small area, you can just cover furniture and objects with plastic.
Smoke and soot damage usually come in an ugly package. Start removing loose soot particles using a vacuum with an upholstery cleaner attachment. Lightly brush the damaged area and use the vacuum to suck in all the loose particles. Avoid scrubbing and be gentle.
Wipe the Stains with a Dry-Cleaning Sponge
Once you have vacuumed the loose soot particles, use a dry-cleaning sponge to wipe the smoke and soot stains. This sponge uses special chemicals to remove stains from walls. Avoid using a water or soot cleaner before cleaning the wall with a dry-cleaning sponge; this can cause the soot to spread and make the clean-up task even more difficult than it already is. Wipe the walls gently and after a couple of strokes, turn the sponge to wipe from a clean side
Use Liquid Cleaners
After you have removed as many stains as possible, grab a dry rag. Soak the rag in rubbing alcohol, paint thinner or vinegar and wipe the walls of the damaged area. Next, mix commercial soot remover in a bucket of hot water and dip a sponge in this mixture. Wash the walls with this sponge. If commercial soot remover isn’t available, you could use dish soap or degreaser in its place.
As the sponge gets dirty, grab a new one. Similarly, refresh your water when it gets black. Once you have completely cleaned the walls with the chemical and water mixture, wipe the walls one last time with fresh water and a rag to remove any cleaning products.
Dry It out
After you have cleaned sufficiently, use fans to dry out the walls. If you can still smell smoke, look for any materials that might have absorbed the odor. Remove them to get rid of the smoky odors. Replace your HVAC filters once you are done with the clean-up.
If you aren’t comfortable with DIY smoke damage clean-up, leave the job to the professionals at STOP Restoration (S.T.O.P.). Our highly trained technicians are IICRC-certified in smoke deodorization and use proven and innovative techniques to clean and restore your home to it’s pre-loss state following smoke damage. We offer our smoke damage restoration services in the areas of Philadelphia, Bucks County, and Montgomery Country. Please call us at 844/777-STOP to get immediate emergency service or to schedule an estimate.