When it comes to a fire event, there’s always some amount of smoke damage that occurs after the fire is put out. Catering to the smoke damage immediately is crucial as the longer the odours are left to linger, the more difficult it will be to remove them especially when it comes to furniture upholstery. When upholstery is exposed to severe smoky conditions, it can be quite difficult to clean.
Experts recommend a professional smoke damage cleanup to remediate a fire situation, but if you choose to do the cleanup yourself we have outlined a few tips that will help you tackle smoke damage. Ensure your home is safe to re-enter after the fire before starting the cleaning process.
Assess the damage.
If several rooms have been exposed to smoke, you may need an extra pair of hands to help you with the cleanup. Assess the areas in your home that have been affected by smoke and soot for eg: walls, furniture, ceilings, personal belongings, etc. Then prepare a list of things you will need to clean up all the smoke and soot.
In some cases, where the damage is beyond repair, you might want to dispose of or replace certain items. For instance, if your drywall has soaked in a lot of water from fire hoses, you will need to replace it. Failing to do so may put your home’s structural integrity at risk and may invite mould problems.
Ventilate the area.
Your home may still be wet from the water used to extinguish the fire. Hence it’s important to dry it out thoroughly. Even if the smoke damage has no moisture, leave all windows open to allow air to flow in. Take advantage of fans and dehumidifiers to help dry the area, and begin clearing out some of the odours. In such a scenario, it is good to replace your furnace filter every day until it is free of soot and debris.
Clear the place.
Remove as much waste and as many things from the area as possible so you can start cleaning up. Keep items that go into the trash separate from those you plan to clean or repair and move them to a different room to be dealt with after the area is cleaned.
Clean and disinfect.
You will need the following items to clean and disinfect:
Rubber gloves, sponge, bleach/household cleaner, trisodium phosphate (TSP) cleaning solution, vinegar, baking soda, warm water, drop cloth, bucket, ladder, mask, goggles, and a vacuum with a nozzle.
Clean walls and ceilings.
To clean soot from walls and ceilings, find a cleaning solution that contains about 4-6 tbsp of trisodium phosphate. In addition to that, you will need a cup of bleach or household cleaner for every 4 litres of warm water to carry out the procedure. Due to the harsh nature of cleaning chemicals, it is important to wear rubber gloves and protective equipment to avoid any skin reactions. Before you start, place a drop cloth over your floors and carpets to prevent any damage that could be caused by the solution. Start cleaning the walls and ceilings using the cleaning solution and sponge. Cover one area at a time. After that, rinse with water and dry the area. Avoid saturating the walls to an extent where water seeps through the walls and baseboards. This is to prevent mildew and mould from growing. After cleaning all the soot, you can begin disinfecting the smoke odours by dipping a sponge in vinegar and applying the same to the walls and ceilings. After that, dry thoroughly. If the whole process was a success you can consider repainting the walls.
When it comes to upholstery, disinfecting smoke damage can be a tricky task. You will need to begin by vacuuming all the soot using a nozzle. Keep the nozzle at a level that ensures no soot is rubbed into the fabric, at the same time making sure you suck up the soot into the vacuum. Later, sprinkle some baking soda on the upholstery. Let it sit for over 24 hours to absorb all the odours and then run the vacuum over it. You could use the cleaning solution (trisodium phosphate) on certain areas of furniture with caution. Before doing this, do a little research on the material to ensure it is safe to use the solution. Warm water mixed with vinegar is a good solution to use on wooden surfaces to remove odours. Dry thoroughly after cleaning.
Clean carpets and flooring.
Get your carpets thoroughly cleaned and deodorised by professional carpet cleaners after the fire event. If the damage is extreme, you might have to replace them with new ones. For wooden flooring, a solution of water and vinegar can be used for treatment. To treat/disinfect linoleum, you can use a solution of water and bleach. If your home has other kinds of flooring such as tiles, you should contact the manufacturer to know the best method of cleaning after smoke damage.
Get in touch with a professional.
While you may manage to clean up a huge portion of the smoke damage on your own, to complete the job thoroughly, you may need to call the experts. Find a reputable cleaning company that has sufficient experience in handling smoke damage cleanup and fire damage restoration.
If you need a smoke damage cleanup or fire damage restoration for your home, contact Classique Chem-Dry.