In the aftermath of a fire, it’s very important to begin the restoration process as soon as possible to avoid further permanent damage or discoloration from soot residue. The IICRC provides the following clean-up tips for victims of fire damage.
- Safety first. Always use a dust mask and gloves as you work.
- Ventilate the home. Place a box fan in an open window to draw the air and dust out.
- Clean as much as you can. Start with the ceilings, walls and fixtures, work your way down to the contents of the room, then to the floor itself.
- Vacuum floors and upholstery. Make sure your vacuum cleaner has a high efficiency filter or else you can risk blowing soot back into the air.
- Some draperies, clothing and machine-washable items may be laundered. Use a mild alkaline cleaner to neutralize the acid in the soot. It’s recommended to dry clean fine clothing.
- Most exterior walls – like brick, stone, wood, paint, and siding – and eaves can be cleaned by spraying with a detergent, loosening the soot with a soft-bristled brush, pressure washing from bottom to top, then rinsing from top to bottom.
- If the damage and residue are heavy, it’s a safer bet to hire a professional (like United Water Restoration Group) to thoroughly restore your home and belongings.
- Check with your insurance company to see if your policy covers smoke damage from outdoor sources.
- If the fire has warped or distorted the structure, consult a licensed general contractor.