As a victim of fire damage, you may be eager to clean your home after a fire, but without the work and advice from professionals, you can further increase the damage to your residence. It’s always recommended to contact a full-service fire damage restoration company, like United Water Restoration Group (877-855-4145), but the following guidelines can help you deal with the minor fire and smoke damage.
Removing Smoke Odor from Textiles
Smoke odor will remain in clothing, upholstered furniture, carpets, and draperies unless they are properly deodorized before cleaning. Professional service is highly recommended. Consult United Water Restoration about using “counteractants” chemicals or additives to eliminate odors. Counteractants can be applied to furniture, carpets, draperies and even clothing, but only by a professional. An ozone treatment can be used as well; if done in a home, items are put under a tent while the ozone generator is operating. Most household deodorizing sprays and disinfectants provide only temporary relief. These sprays may create an additional odor, on top of the smoke musk.
Removing Soot from Textiles
Soot is oily and easily stains carpets, draperies and other household textiles. It must be removed before any type of cleaning. You can remove some soot by holding a vacuum nozzle close to the surface of stained textiles. Do not use vacuum attachments or an upright vacuum because the brushes will push soot further into fabrics. Cover carpets and other areas after cleaning to keep other soil from being tracked in during clean-up.
Cleaning Furnishings and Clothing
After deodorizing, it’s best to follow-up with cleaning household textiles. Take non-washable clothing and draperies to a dry cleaner for traditional or special cleaning processes. Wash regular clothing in warm water with a liquid detergent; several washings may be in order. Wet carpets must be dried before cleaning. In many cases, carpet removal may be necessary for ensure complete dryness.
Cleaning Soot Stains from Walls
Use a chemical sponge or other non-water-based cleaner to clean soot from walls, but always wear rubber gloves. Open all the windows and use an electric fan to increase ventilation while working. Do not use a water-based cleaner on plaster walls, as it will cause the stain to bleed into the wall.
Removing Smoke Odor from the Home
During a fire, smoke can get trapped in walls and household ducts. Smoke odor can reoccur randomly if it’s not properly taken care of, especially in warm or damp weather. Consult United Water Restoration about “thermal fogging.” This warm chemical fog penetrates your home and walls, neutralizing the smoke odor. Regarding smoke removal from ducts, some companies may use a chemical sealer to seal smoke permanently to the sides of ducts. These areas may be difficult to clean with conventional vacuum-and-brush methods. Consider replacement of attic insulation, as it may retain odors as well.