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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 DamageIf 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 VentilationIf 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 AreaRemove 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
- Phosphate Cleaning Solution
- Bleach or Household Cleaner
- Baking Soda
- Warm Water
- Drop Cloth
- Protective Mask and Goggles
- Vacuum With Nozzle
5. Walls and CeilingsYou 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. FurnitureDisinfecting 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 FlooringHave 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 ExpertsWhile 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.