Smoke damage is one element of a fire that surprises most people who suffer this type of disaster. A thick, stubborn residue covers everything, making cleanup especially challenging.
Assess the damage. In most cases it can be difficult to determine what can be salvaged and what cannot. Rather than allowing yourself to get overwhelmed, ask your homeowners insurance company for a referral. A professional restoration company can help you determine the extent of the damage and make a plan for cleaning it up.
Obtain the right supplies. Because soot clings so stubbornly to practically every available surface, you will need a strong cleaning agent such as Trisodium Phosphate. Do remember that this solution must be diluted according to directions, and even so, it can irritate skin and eyes. You will need:
- A mask, goggles, and long gloves
- Drop cloths
- A vacuum
- Chemical sponges
- Cotton cloths
- Terrycloth towels
- Grade #0000 steel wool
Clean carefully. Not only should you protect yourself; you must use drop cloths to protect unaffected areas from your cleaning solution.
Wipe all wood surfaces with dry chemical sponges to remove soot, but don’t scrub too hard or you could force the particles deeper into the surface. Then, wipe down those surfaces with a cotton cloth and properly diluted wood cleaner. Sometimes, tougher stains might require the use of steel wool.
Vacuum fibrous materials, then deodorize. Since household products only temporarily remove the smell, you might wish to seek professional ozone treatments to get rid of smoky odors for good.
Now, use your TSP solution on walls and other surfaces. Be careful not to oversaturate drywall, and rinse with water after using the TSP solution.
Replace damaged wallpaper, and apply a fresh coat of paint to walls.
Call a professional for help. Cleaning up smoke damage can be time consuming, frustrating, and require the use of techniques better left to professionals. If you need assistance at any point during the process, call us for fast fast and skilled assistance.