One of the questions we’re asked by callers who have been affected by fire is, “What do professionals use to clean smoke damage from fire?” Most people think that there will be a simple answer, but there isn’t. You see, to remove smoke damage requires a number of things:
- The right equipment and clothing
- The right cleaning solutions
How you clean smoke damage from fire also depends upon what it is that you’re cleaning. Usually, cleaning is concentrated on walls, ceilings and floors. Occasionally, furniture and fabrics (such as curtains) can be rescued by proper cleaning. Cleaning smoke damage effectively also means taking care of odors.
Get rid of soot the professional way
Soot is the residue of fire. It’s abrasive and easily spread if treated wrong. You’ll also find charring after a fire, which is burning of wood or paint. A professional cleaning company will first assess what can be restored, before starting the cleaning process. If the charring isn’t too deep, then you’ll need water and Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) to make-up the cleaning solution.
TSP is a hazardous cleaning solution, so you’ll need to take precautions when using it. Always wear protective clothing, including heavy duty rubber gloves and goggles to protect your eyes.
Once loose soot has been removed by vacuuming with an industrial vacuum or with a dry chemical sponge, you can set about cleaning:
- Mix 1 tablespoon of TSP with one gallon of warm water
- Vigorously sponge the surface to be cleaned and rinse well with a clean cloth
- Repeat as many times as is needed, without making walls, ceilings, and floors too wet.
- Prime and repaint as necessary
Blistering and bubbling is also common. This has to be repaired in the following fashion:
- Scrape the blister away with a putty knife and then sand to a smooth finish.
- Use spackling paste to make good
- Prime and paint
Removing the odor of smoke
Even if you have removed all visible evidence of fire damage, you’ll likely still find a lingering odor to remind you of the tragedy. This is one reason why carpets, furnishings, and other textile finishes typically need replacing after fire. However, there are some household items that can be used to help remove smoke odors:
- White vinegar can be used to wipe down furniture, and you might try placing a few bowels of vinegar around a smoke damaged property for a few days to soak up the odors
- Bowls of baking soda also absorb odors
- Activated charcoal is a detoxifying agent
You night also try leaving windows and doors open to circulate fresh air. Failing all this, you could hire an ozone generator which is the way the professionals eliminate the odor of a fire damaged room. This isn’t cheap, but it is the most effective method of removing the nasal evidence of fire damage.
For more information, contact us today – we’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will be happy to help.