If you recently went through a house fire, it’s likely that some of your belongings are still impacted by smoke damage. While this can be distressing, it’s important to know how long the lingering odor and black marks last so that you can take the appropriate steps to clean them.
Some items are easier to clean than others, depending on the type of smoke and how it affects your home. Smoke contains acidic compounds, like sulfur and carbon, which can cause different effects in your home, depending on how the fire started. Cloth items — anything that fits into the washing machine, including curtains and bedding — are usually salvageable. However, if they’re charred or burnt, you will need to replace them.
Porous materials and surfaces, like wood, carpets, and wallpaper, will require professional cleaning in order to remove soot residue. The soot can also soak into these materials, causing permanent discoloration that requires replacement. Metal surfaces, like pipes and kitchen fixtures, can corrode and pit, requiring refinishing or replacement. Unsealed wooden furniture will also absorb smoke particles and odor, requiring a thorough cleaning using chemical sponges to prevent soot seepage.
Regardless of the extent of smoke damage in your home, it’s important to contact a fire restoration company immediately after the incident. A professional team can provide a free assessment and estimate for your repair costs. They will also help you file an insurance claim to cover the cost of your repairs.
It is essential to hire a fire restoration team that is certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration (IICRC). This certification ensures that your team follows strict protocols to protect your property from further damage, while also providing a high level of customer service.
When cleaning after a house fire, the first step is to vacuum up as much loose soot and debris as possible. This can be done using a special vacuum designed specifically for smoke cleanup or by a standard vacuum with an upholstery attachment. Remember to wear protective gloves, a face mask, and eye protection during this process.
Those with a tight budget may want to consider using a homemade cleaner made from white vinegar and water, or a mixture of half water and 50% trisodium phosphate (TSP). This heavy-duty cleaner can be used on almost all surfaces in your home, and is safe for use on plastic and ceramic.
If your belongings are covered in soot, you can also try rubbing them with dry cleaning chemical sponges to remove the odor and stain. For those with a larger budget, professional furniture cleaning services can restore most upholstered and leather furnishings to their original condition, while removing the odor from wood and other nonporous materials.
Regardless of the size or scope of the smoke damage, you can rest assured that Jenkins Restorations will do everything in its power to restore your home as quickly and efficiently as possible. To learn more about our fire restoration services, contact us today!