Whatever type of fire you’ve had in your home, don’t let anyone tell you it’s anything other than a disaster. A small fire in the kitchen may not be the crisis depicted in The Towering Inferno, but on a personal level it could still be devastating. Worktops, walls, and floors are black with soot. Every utensil, piece of crockery, and cupboard are affected.
And that odor… if left unchecked it permeates everything. Even your clothes – located in your closet in in your bedroom at the other end of the home – become infected. Every time you leave your home, you smell like an old ashtray. People decline dinner party invitations.
In this post you’ll learn the damage that happens after a fire, and have an overview of how to treat smoke damage in the home quickly.
How fast does fire damage spread after the fire?
Even as the fire is raging, soot has started to settle. Porous materials will be permanently discolored. Soot is acidic, and if you don’t start the clean-up straight away, other non-porous surfaces will suffer increasing damage over time.
In just a few hours, wooden surfaces may need refinishing, and metal will start to rust. Your walls and ceilings will begin to yellow. Damage to fabrics could also be permanent – cloths, curtains, and carpets, for example.
The longer you leave the cleaning and restoration process, the more expensive it will be. You may find that you have to replace a number of items of furniture, carpets, and clothing.
Cleaning smoke damage – the important points
It may be possible to clear you after a small and contained fire yourself. Any damage that is more widespread would probably require a professional clean. Here are seven steps that will ensure you tackle the clean-up in a methodical way, and one that will limit further damage:
1. Stay safe
Always wear protective clothing, including gloves and goggles. You may need respiratory equipment, depending on the severity of the fire. If you breathe in soot, your lungs and other organs can be affected.
Open windows, and use box fans to remove the odor-filled air from the house. This should help to remove loose dust and soot particles, too.
3. Clean loose soot away
Use a dry-cleaning sponge to get rid of excess soot from walls, ceilings, and other surfaces.
4. Wash down surfaces thoroughly
Start with the ceiling, and wash your surfaces top to bottom with a solution of soap and water. Don’t forget to work deep into cupboards.
Vacuum all surfaces with a HEPA filter. This includes upholstery and carpets.
6. Launder everything
You’ll need to clean clothes, curtains, and bedding. Use an alkaline cleaner to help neutralize the smoke odor. Use a professional cleaning service that is experienced with smoke damaged materials to clean your most expensive and precious items.
7. Once finished inside, move outside
Clean the outside of your property, taking care to remove all soot before it causes more damage.
Always be mindful that improper cleaning techniques can cause more damage from soot – it’s a highly abrasive and corrosive substance. If you’re in any doubt, call a professional cleaning technician.
We’ll be happy to give you 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.
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