Wildfires are an unfortunate part of life, especially here in California. Even if your home escapes the primary danger, smoke and soot from nearby fires can still damage your house and belongings. These five tips can help you as you proceed with the cleanup process.

Remove troublesome odors from smoke and soot. Even after extensive cleaning, sometimes smoke odor lingers and reminds you of the traumatic event. Cleaning products that contain tri-sodium phosphate can be very effective at removing odors from clothing, upholstery, and curtains, but the substance is very caustic. Use extreme caution and follow directions carefully when using these chemicals.

Test garments and furniture before cleaning. It can be difficult to predict how a particular fabric will react to some cleaners. Perform spot tests in hidden places before using cleaning products, so that you don’t accidentally ruin a favorite piece of clothing or furniture.

Drywall and insulation should be replaced. If these materials have been soaked by fire hoses, they are no longer effective. They can also harbor mold and mildew, so they must be replaced.

Protect yourself at all times. Wildfires can do extensive damage to structures, particularly older structures, releasing toxic substances into the air. Things like asbestos and lead are no longer used in home construction, but might still be present in some areas. Ask a professional for an evaluation, and don’t attempt cleanup yourself if harmful substances are present. Even the dust and mold spores that can be stirred up during home renovations can be harmful, so wear the appropriate mask and follow directions when cleaning products.

Repair is an opportunity for improvements. As you clean up and restore your home, consider going one step farther to protect yourself from future fire events. Select flame-repellant building materials and furnishings, and consider landscaping options that reduce your fire risk in the future. Install high quality smoke detectors throughout your home, and wire them together so that they will all alert you in the event of a fire.

And of course, remember that we’re here for you if you’ve suffered fire damage. Call us to discuss fire damage remediation and appropriate safety measures, and we can help you get your life back to normal quickly.