It’s tough when your home or place of business gets hit by a fire. Even if your property has insurance coverage, it still hurts to see something you’ve worked so hard to build go up in flames. It’s even worse when your entire property burns to the ground because that means there will be nothing left to salvage, and you’ll have to rebuild completely.
If the fire only consumed part of your property, then you’ll have an easier time restoring it to the way it was. “Easier” here, however, doesn’t mean restoration will be a breeze. It just means you’ll be spared the time, effort, and expense that a complete rebuild will entail. It will still take an enormous effort to clean everything up, especially if you take the DIY route to fire damage restoration.
Then there’s smoke damage, which can be an even bigger problem than the actual fire if you don’t deal with it straight away. Smoke damage can linger long after you’ve implemented the home remodeling ideas you’ve come up with during the rebuild, and cause myriad problems, including those that can affect your health.
Smoke damage must be addressed immediately. Here are some practical smoke damage cleaning tips that can help you do the job.
Proper protection is a must when you’re taking on the task of dealing with smoke damage. Inhaling smoke and soot can be dangerous to your health, so make sure you wear a respirator the whole time you’re dealing with smoke damage.
You also need to protect your skin from all the soot, which can be an irritant. Long pants and long-sleeved shirts should be good enough to protect your skin. For your eyes, goggles and other types of appropriate eyewear would work. You should also wear gloves while handling parts of your house that burned up. If you have safety shoes or boots, then wear a pair as well.
The fire may have spared considerable parts of your property, but you can be sure that the entire area will reek of smoke once the fire has been put out.
You can’t get rid of the smell of smoke right away, but ventilating the entire property from the very beginning of your cleanup should help you save it from permanent smoke damage.
Before you do anything else, open all the doors and windows to allow the smoky smell to dissipate. Industrial fans running at full blast and placed strategically near doors and windows can help things along. Portable ozone generators can also help get rid of the smell, so if you own one, get one running from time to time. If you don’t have a portable ozone generator, put activated charcoal in bowls and place them all over the affected area. Activated charcoal is good at absorbing odors naturally, and they’re much cheaper than buying a portable ozone generator.
Expect the furniture, drapes, carpets, and any of your belongings that survived the fire to be covered in soot. A vacuum cleaner—an industrial one, that is—should be able to do the job of removing much of the soot.
Since soot can stain a surface permanently, make sure the nozzle of the vacuum cleaner doesn’t touch or press down on it. Keeping the nozzle a few centimeters away from a soot-covered surface should do the trick.
Once you’re done vacuuming all the soot, you can proceed to wipe down all soot-covered surfaces.
To prevent whatever soot that remains from spreading use a dry-cleaning or chemical sponge first. This type of sponge is designed to wipe soot and smoke stains from surfaces without getting them wet. It uses special chemicals to do the job.
Whatever you do, never use soot cleaner or water before this step because all that will do is spread the soot and make it extremely difficult to take out with a dry-cleaning sponge.
Take your dry-cleaning sponge and use it to wipe the walls and other surfaces gently. Avoid scrubbing the stains and use a wiping motion instead.
Once you’re down wiping down all the surfaces, only then should you use something wet to clean the surfaces. Wipe the surfaces down with a sponge soaked in a mix of warm water, mild soap or detergent, and a cup of household cleaner. Rinse the surfaces with warm water and dry.
Seek Professional Help
In a list of practical ways of dealing with smoke damage after a fire, this one is the most practical. Sure, doing it yourself can be cathartic, especially if you’re taking the disaster hard. However, DIY smoke damage cleanup and restoration will take up a lot of your time and effort, and you would only be able to do the most preliminary steps of the entire smoke damage restoration process.
For a more thorough, efficient, and effective smoke damage cleanup and restoration, seek the help of fire restoration professionals. With their experience and equipment, they are more than capable of getting rid of all traces of smoke damage and restoring your property to its former state.
- This is a guest post not written by the websites’ owner.