Smoke damage restoration after a fire can be a very challenging task, and without professional help, attempting to clean smoke damage on your own can truly be a nightmare. Minimize or prevent further damage by following these steps on how to clean smoke damage:
Air should be circulated throughout the area during the smoke damage cleaning process with the help of fans and open windows, if possible. If additional water damage is observed during smoke damage cleanup, a dehumidifier should be used as well. Brass and copper items must be removed and cleaned during smoke damage restoration, as they can be irreparably etched by the smoke in just 24 hours.
Soot removal is a major task in smoke damage cleanup. Soot can stain textiles, carpets and other items, and its oiliness makes it tenacious. A professional smoke restoration service might be able to remove soot using a heavy-duty vacuum.
Smoke damage also produces an acrid smoke odor in clothes and fabrics, which must be taken care of during smoke damage removal. A smoke damage cleanup service may be consulted about applying counteractants that can remove smoke odor. The counteractant maybe applied by a smoke damage removal professional to furniture, carpets and draperies. An ozone treatment might also be necessary to eliiminate the odor of smoke.
Most household deodorizing sprays and disinfectants that are marketed to repair smoke damage provide only temporary relief from the problem. In fact, some deodorizing sprays might even react with the smoke, producing further odors. If clothing or textiles cannot be professionally treated during smoke damage cleanup, the following steps might come in handy:
Mix one cup of dishwashing detergent with a gallon of warm water. Completely submerge the affected items and allow them to soak all night in the washing machine. The next day, they can be drained and laundered as usual.
For bleachable items, 4 to 6 tablespoons of trisodium phosphate can be mixed with 1 cup of Lysol or another household chlorine bleach and a gallon of water. Add the clothes, rinse with clear water and dry.
The next step in the smoke damage removal processs is cleaning household linens and textiles. Non-washable clothes can be taken to a dry cleaner for traditional or special dry cleaning. Regular clothing must be washed in warm water using a liquid detergent. Carpets need to be cleaned twice, both before and after smoke damage cleanup.
Another important step in repairing smoke damage is cleaning smoke damaged walls. Smoke damaged walls may have soot stains, which have to be cleaned and removed. A chemical sponge from a cleaning company should be able to remove the soot. Alternately, paint thinner and alcohol may be used to clean smoke damaged walls, but caution is required due to the potentially toxic fumes that will result from the combination. Rubber gloves are a must, and windows must be fully opened to provide proper ventilation during the process.
Finally, smoke damage restoration requires removing the odor of smoke completely from the house, as smoke permeates walls and can even become permanently trapped. A process known as thermal fogging can be done by smoke damage removal professionals to completely neutralize the smoke odors. Additionally, attic insulation that has retained a good deal of smoke may need to be replaced.