If you have ever experienced a home fire on any level, you know that any amount of fire can cause a large area of damage to your home. Even a small fire on your kitchen stove can cause smoke and soot damage throughout your entire home. Whether the fire was a large fire or a small one contained in your kitchen, here are some tips and insight to help you clean up your home after any amount of smoke and fire damage has damaged its interior.
Remedy and Repair Fire Damage
If you experience a fire in your home at any level, you may have called the fire department to help you put out the fire or used your own fire extinguisher to control the burn. Either of these types of fire extinguishing methods can leave your home interior damaged with water and chemicals in addition to the fire and its damage to your home's structure.
Your home may have a missing wall or ceiling area that exposes the rest of your home to the elements. Calling a professional fire damage restoration company is a good choice, as they will take all steps to help you inspect and protect your home and possessions. Talk to your homeowner's insurance agent to learn about your coverage and to file a claim to repair the fire damage, as the national average of full fire damage restoration to a home is $12,727.
A fire restoration professional will inspect your home to see how far the fire damage spread, as it can cause damage behind walls and floors that are not visible to you. After a damage inspection, they will board up any broken windows and cover missing areas of wall or roofing material with heavy-duty tarps to protect your home's interior until its exterior and structure can be repaired. Then, they will remove and discard non-salvageable items that have been damaged by the fire.
The excess water left over from the fire hoses needs to be dried out to prevent mold and mildew growth, and your fire restoration professional can begin this process along with cleaning any fire extinguisher chemicals off your home's interior. They will use heavy-duty water vacuums to pull up the water, then position fans and dehumidifiers throughout your home to remove the excess moisture from the air.
Clean Off Soot Residue and Smoke Odor
After the initial water and chemical damage has been dried out and cleaned up, your restoration professional can begin to clean soot and smoke from surfaces and items in your home. Because the smoke from the fire rises and travels through your entire house, damage from greasy smoke and soot can spread well beyond the boundaries of the flames. Your restoration professional will clean the walls, ceiling, and other surfaces to remove all soot. They will vacuum up loose soot particles and then use a dry cleaning sponge to wipe off additional stuck-on soot.
If you are cleaning off soot on your own, make sure you wear gloves and protective goggles because soot can fall into your eyes from the ceiling and upper walls during the cleaning. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to clean off the surfaces that are covered loose soot. Don't forget to vacuum your carpets as well, because over time the soot particles will fall from the air and collect on your home's floor.
Use a wet sponge and a solution of trisodium phosphate (TSP) or water, vinegar, and liquid dish soap to wipe all solid surfaces clean. Be sure to rinse the sponge often so you are not spreading the soot back over the surfaces.
Air out the smoke odor from your home by turning on fans in your home's open windows, pushing the air to the outside. You can also ask your restoration professional to use an ozone machine to treat the air in your home.