There are many forms of smoke damage to walls, from cigarette smoke to the black sooty deposits left after a fire. How to clean smoke damage from walls will depend on the type of damage and the type of wall. After a house fire, it’s always best to call in a professional: they’ll have the experience, equipment, and clothing, as well as some expensive and powerful cleaning solutions to do the job.
However, if you do intend to tackle the cleanup operation yourself, here’s how to clean smoke damage from walls using less professional methods:
Before you start the clean-up, get kitted out for safety
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health have issued a handy guide to cleaning up after a fire. It advises that you should wear gloves (dish washing gloves will do), long sleeves, and pants. Also, use a dust mask and make sure the area in which you’re cleaning is well ventilated.
If your walls are plaster
If the smoke damaged walls are plaster, don’t use water-based solutions in the cleaning process. All this will do is give the soot a route to set itself into the wall. Instead, use a chemical sponge, or paint thinner or rubbing alcohol on a clean cloth.
If your walls are drywall
A solution of one tablespoon of trisodium phosphate in one gallon of warm water can be used on drywall. Trisodium phosphate is caustic, so always wear gloves and googles when using it. Wash one section at a time, taking care not to soak the wall, and rinse well.
You’ll need to avoid water getting underneath baseboards – this could create a mold problem that will need cleaning (if you do find you have mold, make sure you avoid the top 5 mistakes made when cleaning mold from drywall).
Cleaning smoke stains caused by nicotine
A painted wall that has been stained by cigarette smoke can be cleaned using a solution of half vinegar and half water. It will remove the stain while not damaging the paintwork, and the smell of vinegar will disappear within 24 hours.
This brings us on to the last piece of the puzzle when considering how to clean smoke damage from walls: getting rid of the smoke odor. Having removed the stains, and if you don’t feel like using a vinegar solution, wash down with a citrus smelling cleanser (and don’t forget to clean down windows and frames, counter tops, skirts, ceilings, and floors).
Finally, to stop the odor returning, you may need to repaint the smoke damaged walls.
For more information or to get a quote for professional cleaning, contact us today – we’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will be happy to help.