Not everyone may be prepared to handle the damage that smoke arising from a fire can do to their houses. So, you ought to get help from a professional smoke damage restoration service. These services use special equipment and have the necessary expertise to reverse the damage caused by smoke and restore your house.
How Smoke Affects Your Home?
Smoke can affect your home in different ways. Household items that may be the most vulnerable to smoke damage include:
- Structural Wood
- Natural and Synthetic Materials
- Proteins and other food substances
When a fire breaks out and fills the whole house with smoke, it can lead to the formation of corrosive soot that can leave your belongings with permanent stains. Moreover, the residue can penetrate the structural wood, tiles, and grout if left unattended for even just a few hours.
Also, leaving it for a few days could cause irreversible damage. So, you must start the cleanup or restoration process as soon as the fire subdues to prevent further damage.
Smoke Damage Cleanup
There are different steps involved in the smoke damage cleanup or restoration process. However, you may want to put aside some of your belongings to control the smell before you begin. So, make sure that you remove or set aside all the items unaffected by the fire before starting the restoration process.
You will also need protective gear for this process, including:
- Latex gloves, heavy work boots, and covers.
- OSHA-rated respirators to help you breathe and wrap-around goggles to help you see.
- Dry sponges for removing the soot.
- Wet sponges along with trisodium phosphate for degreasing.
- A sturdy ladder and large buckets.
- Plastic drop cloths.
- Vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters and a set of upholstery.
Smoke Damage Restoration Process
There are different steps in the smoke damage restoration process. However, the following six steps are suitable for all types of smoke damage.
1. Be Wary of the Odor
As a first step and precautionary measure, you must get rid of the odor by opening the windows and doors and letting in some fresh air. You could also turn on the fans in all the rooms. However, be sure to turn them off when removing the soot.
2. Vacuuming the Soot
Next, you must vacuum the soot from all the affected surfaces. For this, you must begin by covering the floors with plastic drop cloths. You must then use a HEPA-filter vacuum cleaner to remove the soot from the affected areas. You must be careful to slowly move the upholstery over the surface but not press or apply pressure on the nozzle.
You can do this by keeping the upholstery on the affected surface and slowly moving it around so that it sucks in all the soot. Hold it so that it sucks the residue upwards and not downwards.
3. Dry-Sponging the Walls and Ceilings
Once you finish vacuuming the affected surfaces, you must clean them with a dry sponge. These sponges help clean the soot as they are made of vulcanized rubber. They do this by absorbing the residue without overloading the sponge.
Use them to wipe away the soot from the affected surfaces by slowly stroking from the bottom of the walls to the ceiling. Similarly, stroke over the roof horizontally to get the residue out.
4. Finish Cleaning Up with a Degreaser
Vacuuming and wiping with a dry sponge only removes soot from the surface. So, you might want to use a degreaser to eliminate it. For this, you can mix a tablespoon of degreaser with a gallon of warm water or white vinegar and use a dry sponge to clean the soot from the affected surfaces by dipping it in the mixture.
Dip the sponge in the mixture and gradually wipe it on the affected surface to get the remaining residue out.
5.Take Care of the Residual Odors
Now that you are done with the most crucial part of the smoke damage restoration process, it is time to remove the residual odors. For this, you can use DIY techniques that use household products such as vinegar or baking soda. You can also use activated charcoal and specialized equipment that can help quicken the process.
Professionals use equipment that may include thermal foggers and solvent-based deodorizers. Likewise, they may also use advanced ozone generators.
6.Assess Your Belongings
Clean your furniture and clothes, especially those unaffected by the smoke. While you can do this by yourself, a better idea would be to call a professional smoke damage restoration service. They would have the equipment necessary for the job and the expertise.
A fire can strike at any time and for various reasons. However, by implementing these steps correctly, you can get rid of the smoke, reverse the damage, and restore your home. The following table summarizes the steps you will need to reverse the damage and restore the house in the event of a fire breakout.
|Getting Rid of the Odor
|Keep the windows and doors open so that the odor escapes out through them.
|Use a HEPA-filter vacuum cleaner to remove the residue from the affected surfaces.
|Use a dry sponge to clean the remaining residue from the affected walls and ceilings.
|Use a suitable degreaser by mixing it with water to clean up and eliminate the soot.
|Take Care of the Residual Odors
|Use a DIY technique to make the remaining residual odor go away.
|Clean your belongings, especially those that were unaffected by the smoke.