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Top 7 Residential Smoke Damage Tips

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Top 7 Residential Smoke Damage Tips

When dealing with smoke damage after a fire, it is key to take action as soon as possible because the longer the odors linger, the harder they will be to get out.

This is especially true with furniture upholstery which is notoriously difficult to clean once it has been exposed to extremely smoky conditions.

Experts often recommend professional help to deal with smoke damage, but if you are willing to roll up your sleeves and do some hard work, you may be able to clean up some or all of the damage yourself. Make sure it’s safe to enter your home again after the fire before you begin.

1. Assess the Damage

If more than one room in your home has been exposed to the smoke, you will most likely need to call on the help of someone to assist you. Make a list of what needs to occur so you are organized and ready to work as efficiently as possible. In order to remedy the damage, you will need to clean smoke and soot from your walls, ceiling, furniture, and any personal items that were exposed.

You may also want to consider disposing of or replacing some items that are beyond repair as well. This includes drywall that has been soaked by fire hoses. Often times it will need to be replaced because it will not maintain structural integrity or resist mildew and mold growth after having been exposed to so much water.

2. Get Some Ventilation

If your home is still wet from putting out the fire, the first order of business is to begin drying it out. Even if there is only smoke damage without moisture, open as many windows as you can to get some air flowing. Use fans and dehumidifiers to help dry the area, and start clearing out some of the odors. It is a good idea to change your furnace filter everyday in this situation until it is clear of soot and debris.

3. Clear the Area

Remove as much debris and as many loose items from the area as possible so you can begin the cleaning process. Separate what needs to be discarded from things you intend to clean or repair and get them out of the area to be dealt with after you clean the room itself.

4. Clean and Disinfect

To clean and disinfect you will need:

  • Rubber Gloves
  • Big sponge
  • Trisodium
  • Phosphate Cleaning Solution
  • Bleach or Household Cleaner
  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar
  • Warm Water
  • Ladder
  • Drop Cloth
  • Bucket
  • Protective Mask and Goggles
  • Vacuum With Nozzle

5. Walls and Ceilings

You will need to use a cleaning solution containing 4-6 TBSP of trisodium phosphate. Plus 1 cup bleach or household cleaner for every gallon of warm water to clean soot from the walls and ceilings.

Wear gloves and protective gear when using harsh cleaning chemicals like trisodium phosphate because it is very caustic to your skin and eyes. First, put a drop cloth down to cover your floors or carpets so the solution does not damage them. Then use a bucket, cleaning solution and large sponge to clean the walls and ceilings, one area at a time. Then rinse with clean water and dry.

Make sure you don’t saturate the walls so much that water leaks in through the walls and baseboards. This is very important because it could lead to mildewing and mold growth. After you go through the initial step of cleaning the soot, you can further disinfect the smoke odors using a sponge dipped in vinegar applied to your walls and ceilings. Dry thoroughly afterwards. Depending on how successful this process was, consider whether you will need to repaint the walls as well.

6. Furniture

Disinfecting upholstery from smoke damage can be a challenging task. You will first want to vacuum the soot up using a nozzle. Be cautious that you are not rubbing the soot into the fabric, and hover just above the material to make sure you are sucking it up into the vacuum.

After you do this, sprinkle baking soda all over the surface of the upholstery. Then leave it to absorb odors over 24 hours, and then vacuum it up. You may be able to use the trisodium phosphate cleaning solution on certain pieces of furniture. However, you will need to research the material you are working with beforehand to make sure it is safe.

A solution of vinegar and warm water applied to wood surfaces can be very beneficial for removing odors. Make sure you dry the items thoroughly after cleaning.

7. Carpets and Flooring

Have your carpets professionally cleaned after a fire to completely deodorize them. Although, depending on the level of damage, you may need to consider replacing the carpets instead. In addition, wood floors can be treated with a vinegar and water solution.

Also linoleum can be treated with bleach and water to disinfect them. If you have other types of flooring in your home such as tile, call the manufacturer to find out the best way to clean them after smoke damage.

Call the Experts

While you may be able to clean a lot of the smoke damage yourself, to get the job entirely done you may need to call professionals. Look for a reputable company who has ample experience dealing with smoke damage and fire restoration for residential homes.

Smoke Damage Restoration Miami

We service Broward, Palm Beach and Miami for any smoke damage restoration jobs.

Do not hesitate to contact us!

We can work with your insurance company, so you don’t have to pay anything out of pocket. We can also help with any fire restoration in Miami or Broward.

7 Expert Tips If You Had A Fire In Your Home

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7 Expert Tips If You Had A Fire In Your Home

First of all, cleaning up after a home or office fire can be a complex and daunting task. Most of the time, it is not usually something that can be done without expert help. The fire clean up requires that a quick and accurate assessment of damage be prioritized. The process of restoration should begin before permanent damage or discoloration occurs. Smoke and hazardous soot residue need to be taken care of immediately.

Because flames and smoke rise, the damage to walls and the ceiling can be significant. You may need to treat your walls and ceiling with specialized cleaning products to keep them from further deterioration.

It is very difficult for a non-professional alone to be able to assess the full scale of damage. Also we recommend you hire a public adjuster to help you with your claim.

If you do decide to go ahead and do some cleaning and repair after a fire, there are several steps you can follow before calling for additional help.

1. Use Safety Equipment

Always wear a safety mask, eye goggles and heavy-duty gloves to protect yourself from debris and from inhaling toxic fumes and soot. If you remove items from the burn site, you will need to protect yourself from coming into contact with burnt residue.

It is especially dangerous to inhale soot because of it’s cancer causing properties. Keep away your kids, and especially babies, from the burn site. They are more vulnerable to having respiratory problems.

2. Get Some Air

If you can ventilate the room, then do so. Open windows throughout the area to get as much fresh air flowing into the rooms as possible. The fresh air will minimize the effects of volatile vapors trapped in the burn site.

You will also want to seal off the area that was burned including intake vents from other rooms if possible, to prevent odors from traveling into other areas of the home or office.

Although getting fresh air into the burn site is a great start, to completely get rid of odors you will most likely need to use an air purifier or air scrubber as a next course of action.

3. Vacuum the Area

Use a vacuum with a high efficiency filter on drapes, and surfaces with visible dust and soot. It’s very important to make sure your vacuum is trapping the particles in the filter so that you are not risking blowing harmful debris back into the air.

Also you can also wash any fabric items in your home. If you chose to wash them, use a mild alkaline cleaner to neutralize the acid in the soot.

4. Clean Top to Bottom

If you are going to be cleaning the area, then remove as many items as you can before beginning, including drapery and rugs if they are present. Then start at the ceilings and work top to bottom so that the soot falls downward. Always wear a respirator mask and goggles while doing this task.

There are special cleaning products, especially tri-sodium phosphate cleaners that you can use to combat the soot build up before it hardens on surfaces.

5. Consider Electrical Issues

You will need to unplug any appliances that may have been involved in the fire. Also, make sure you get your appliances inspected before you use them again. In addition, you will need to assess whether the electrical system in your home or office has been compromised due to the fire. In reality, you may need to get an inspection by a qualified electrician just to make sure everything is in order.

6. Prevent Water Damage

Most people don’t think about water damage after a fire, but since it is water that is used to put out the fire, you need to make sure that moisture is not collecting and lingering in walls, carpets, furniture and other items. Water damage can bring another host of problems including mold growth which can begin growing in as little as 48 hours, so it’s important to make sure the areas that were exposed to water are getting proper air flow.

7. Call for Professional Help

Finally, even after you’ve followed the above suggestions, you may not have done everything. You need to be very careful to protect you and your family’s health from the toxic buildup of a fire.

It’s wise to get a second opinion to make sure that you won’t be unknowingly exposing yourself and your family to potentially deadly hazardous waste.

If you need help, the experts at Total Restoration Care are here to provide an expert opinion on your fire damage restoration in Miami. We are the total restoration professionals you can count on to get your home or office back in good shape.

Call us Now at: 786-301-0482!

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