How To Clean Up Fire And Smoke Damage

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If there has recently been a fire in your home, you may have some damage to deal with. Even when it is a localized fire, such as a small kitchen fire, you could be dealing with damage to your kitchen table, utensils, stove and oven, and maybe even the floors of your kitchen. Smoke can also cause quite a bit of damage that requires cleaning up. Here are some tips for cleaning up and restoring your home after a fire.

After the Fire

First of all, you need to know what you should do after the fire is out and you are told it is safe to go inside your home. Make sure you are safe and cautious, never entering a home before the firefighters have instructed you it is okay. You want to limit your movement when you first enter your home, so as not to embed the soot into your carpets and upholstery. Keep your hands clean so you don't spread the soot around. Cover traffic areas and furniture with linens or clean towels. With the electricity off, empty out your refrigerator and freezer, and keep the doors open so it can air out.

What To Avoid

There are also some things to avoid doing after a fire. If any of your ceiling fixtures are wet due to the fire extinguisher or water to put out the fire, do not turn them on. You might have damaged wires that needs to be inspected first. Do not dry clean any clothing items or linens that got fire or smoke damage. By not cleaning them with soap and water, you might set in the smoke odor. If any packaged or canned food was near fire or heat, dispose of it. You should also be very careful around other electrical appliances until an electrician has said it is okay.

Initial Cleaning Steps

The first cleaning steps following fire or smoke damage include ventilating your home and vacuuming. Open all of the doors and windows in your home, from the attic to the basement. This will allow the smoke to start exiting your home, while you let fresh air inside.

Change your HVAC filters, but turn off the HVAC systems. If they are on an automatic timer, they might turn on and spread smoke and soot around. Get some industrial fans and point them toward windows and doors to get some smoke out of your home. Rent a commercial-strength vacuum to start vacuuming up the ash and soot. Make sure it does not press down on surfaces, but is a couple inches from the soot.

Deep Cleaning Steps

Once you have vacuumed up the soot and ash, it is time for some deep cleaning. Start by throwing away anything that is too damaged for restoration. Once those are out of your house, you can start wiping down hard surfaces. This includes wood and laminate furniture, appliances, and countertops.

Your walls, ceilings, and floors will need to be washed as well. A dry sponge is good for wiping down remaining soot, followed by a strong cleaning solution. All household items remaining should be cleaned thoroughly. Even if they don't have visible fire damage, the smoke smell will stick around if they are not cleaned. Make sure all cleaning, linens, and curtains go through the wash.

If the damage is extensive, don't hesitate to call in a fire damage experts like those at ServiceMaster by Restoration Xperts.

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16 February 2015

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