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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

How To Clean Up Smoke Damage

1/20/2022 (Permalink)

Unfortunately, charred walls and belongings are not the only thing you have to worry about when your Chesapeake home or business suffers from a fire. Soot and smoke can cover much of the affected area with a sticky and difficult to clean mess. The particles and odors left behind can be harmful to breath and their acidic nature can further damage the surfaces they settle on if not cleaned properly. Continue reading for some best practices in getting rid of smoke and soot damage in your home.

The first thing you should do is protect your safety. Wear protective clothing with long sleeves, pants and gloves to protect exposed skin, goggles should also be worn, as well as a respirator to prevent any particles that get knocked into the air from getting into your lungs.

Once properly protected here are the steps you should take to begin cleaning your home:

1) Perhaps the easiest part of dealing with the damage is ventilation. Open as many windows and doors as possible to let in fresh air and use fans to help push out any air that may have contaminants. It is also important to note that you should NOT turn on your HVAC at all. This can pull smoke and soot particles into your ducting and spread it to other areas of the home or leave deposits inside the ducts making for more work when cleaning.

2) Use a vacuum to remove any loose soot particles. The vacuum should have a HEPA filter as to not redistribute the particles back into the air. Be careful when vacuuming to not let the vacuum touch the items you are cleaning. Soot particles are typically oily and can smear if rubbed around on materials.

3) Dry cleaning. For now, you should not be using any water or wet methods of cleaning. As mentioned above soot smears easily and especially so when wet. Use a dry-cleaning sponge to clean as much of the soot off of surfaces and walls as possible.

4) Once you’ve done everything you can with dry-cleaning you can begin using commercial soot removers to breakdown what is left on surfaces and remove lingering contaminants.

5) Dry! After you’ve used your wet methods of cleaning you need to make sure that everything is dried out properly. Using clean rags and fans be sure to not leave any moisture anywhere as to not foster bacterial growth in those areas.

Should you use a professional service to clean your home after suffering from a fire? The answer is almost always yes. While it is possible to rid your home of smoke and soot yourself it is a difficult task and easy to mess up. Additionally, odor causing particles are some of the most difficult to clean and you may find that despite your best efforts there is still a lingering smell of smoke in your home. When you call our team of professionals here at SERVPRO of Chesapeake South we have the ability to use specialized equipment like air scrubbers to help pull these smelly particles out of the air and our own set of commercial cleaners specifically designed to get smoke and soot out of surfaces and properly disinfect them. Carpets, upholstery, and furniture should always be left for a professional as they require expertise to ensure they don’t get damaged during cleaning. Remember that the longer the smoke damage lingers in your home the harder it will be to fix the issues and the more damage it can cause.

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