Dealing with the aftermath of a fire in your home or business is an overwhelming ordeal. There are so many emotions to work through that the thought of repairs and smoke remediation may be distant at first. However, once the emotions of the moment pass though, you have work to do. You will need to clean and remove peeling paint and oily soot and residue. There are several methods for cleaning smoke damage that will help you clear away the mess and the memory of what happened. Take a step back, assess the situation, and decide if this is a task you can do or want to do.
From Wood Furniture
If the furniture is salvageable, start by wiping down all the wood surfaces with a soot sponge to get rid of all the soot. Don’t scrub too hard; you don’t want to grind the soot and smell into the porous wood. If you do that, you’ll smell the smoke for as long as you own the furniture. Then, lightly wipe down everything with a solution of warm water and oil soap or wood cleaner. For tougher soot, you may need to use fine steel wool. After you’ve completed this, let the furniture air-dry. If there’s still damage, repeat the process.
From Textiles and Fabrics
Before you can remove the smoke smell from fabrics, carpets, and textiles, you’ll have to remove the soot. Use a standard vacuum cleaner to remove all the soot, but don’t use any brush attachments. The brushes will just force extra dirt into the material and grind excess soot deep into it. Just use the standard hard floor setting or hose. If possible, put items in the washing machine and wash them until the odors and stains are gone. For carpets, use an ozone generator to remove the smoke smell. It may take several times to fully rid the room of the smell.
From the Walls
Remove any damaged or peeling wallpaper first. Then, give the walls and ceiling a quick wipe-down with a soot sponge to get rid of the easy stuff. Next, mix one tablespoon of TSP heavy-duty cleaner and one gallon of warm water, then start scrubbing. Do one small section at a time for the sake of thoroughness.
Let Professionals Handle the Rest
The techniques listed above are effective, and they’ll help you clean up lesser damage, but for very heavy soot and smoke damage, you’ll want to hire professional fire remediation contractors. You’ll be able to handle some of the smaller stuff on your own, but for severe damage, calling the pros is best. Before you start scrubbing and cleaning, do a price comparison and find out if you’re really saving money or time.