How to Clean up Smoke Damage After a Fire

how to clean up smoke damage after a fire

A fire continues to damage your space long after it’s put out, increasing the seriousness of cleaning your house or commercial property. The smoke from flames lingers within your home and can damage many of your belongings, including carpets, furniture, upholstery, appliances and clothing. Depending on the type of fire, the smoke can contain various chemicals that threaten your personal items and your body — including compounds like carbon and sulfur. 

Smoke also leaves behind a particulate matter known as soot, posing real threats to your health. Soot is a byproduct of fires and is linked to certain types of cancer. Quickly removing smoke and the after-effects of fires can decrease the likelihood of: 

  • Lung complications 
  • Skin problems 
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning

Smoke Damage Cleanup Preparation 

Before diving into your smoke damage restoration project, you must take precautionary measures to ensure an efficient and safe workflow. Once the Fire Marshal confirms it’s safe to enter, open up all your windows to provide proper ventilation, and set up fans to dry out the space. 

You’ll also want to collect some essential materials, equipment and safety supplies, such as: 

  • Goggles, gloves and masks
  • Buckets 
  • Hot water
  • Rags 
  • Sponges 
  • Soaps or degreasers containing trisodium phosphate
  • Smoke damage cleaners like soot remover, vinegar, paint thinner or rubbing alcohol
  • A smoke vacuum

Cleaning After a Fire

One of the first things you should do when cleaning your home after a fire is sort through your belongings, identifying what’s salvageable. Safely discard everything severely affected by smoke, and place items you can save to the side for future cleaning. You can also create an inventory, which will be useful when filing an insurance claim. 

Generally, you can wash affected clothes with a strong laundry detergent and hot water, letting them air dry to eliminate any smoke smell. If they still smell, your local laundromat should be able to help. Thoroughly scrub and wash pots and pans with warm, soapy water. Other prized possessions like furniture, upholstery or carpets may need expert assistance to restore their condition. 

If you think you can handle the smoke damage restoration process, keep these steps in mind: 

  • Remove loose soot: Clean up any residual soot or charring by vacuuming the affected floors, walls and ceilings. Using a chemical or dry sponge, you can also brush any large spots onto a drop cloth. 
  • Wash your ceiling, walls and floors: Once you remove all debris, wash these areas with a trisodium phosphate and hot water mixture. Start with your floor, cleaning small spaces and working your way toward the ceiling. Rinse the area thoroughly and let it dry completely before repainting.
  • Eliminate the smoke odor: A smoke smell can persist despite all your cleaning efforts. Some household items that help remove the smoke odors include white vinegar, activated charcoal and baking soda. 
  • Contact a professional: If your home has severe smoke damage, working with an experienced restoration business is best to revitalize your space. 

Partner With an Experienced Smoke Damage Restoration Team 

Count on Alliance Environmental Group to have your back when you need help restoring your home or business to its former glory. Our expert professionals can help breathe new life into your home or business. 

Learn more about how Alliance Environmental Group can help by contacting us online or requesting your free quote today. 

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