When dealing with property fires, it’s worth noting that the damage doesn’t only come from flames. Instead, smoke residue can also significantly affect your home or business, and smoke and soot damage can continue even after the fire has been put out.
The fire does not have to occur in the direct area for smoke damage to affect it. For example, rooms adjacent to the affected area may experience smoke damage on walls, and buildings near a wildfire can be significantly affected by smoke.
Whether a blaze has happened inside your home or near your business, knowing what to do in these situations can help protect your property from costly and extensive smoke damage.
To help you safeguard your property and sense of normalcy, here’s a quick guide on the essential things to know about smoke and soot, plus some tips on the best way to clean smoke damage.
Understanding Smoke and Soot Damage
Smoke is a byproduct of fire that can effortlessly make its way to the following and leave aesthetic damage:
- Behind walls and electrical outlets.
- Into porous fabrics and surfaces.
- Inside HVAC systems and refrigerators.
More importantly, smoke can also carry carcinogens from burned wood, melted plastics, seared upholstery and more.
Unfortunately, the wooden structures in most homes often trap these toxins, requiring the help of smoke damage cleanup professionals. Without prompt and proper intervention, those who inhale the lingering toxins from the embedded smoke become at risk of developing respiratory issues and other symptoms.
Soot is another byproduct of fire usually present wherever there’s smoke. It’s a greasy or powdery substance made from carbon and is released when combustible materials like wood and plastic are burned.
Like smoke, soot can make a frustrating mess out of any fire-affected property. However, it can also penetrate your upholstery, furniture, appliances, and countertops. If left untreated for a few days, it can corrode metals, ruin flooring, and damage walls beyond repair.
Smoke and soot can affect your home’s structure and contents, albeit differently than the fire itself. Unfortunately, this also makes these issues challenging to address throughout the restoration process.
How Smoke Affects Your Property
Smoke can easily sneak into the tiniest cracks and crevices in your home or commercial facility. As such, it often goes unnoticed for long periods while leaving a lingering smell.
Without the proper cleaning agents, smoke can leave hard-to-remove stains on your painted walls and wood furniture. Meanwhile, acidic soot particles allowed to sit on metallic surfaces for a long time can rust and corrode the material effortlessly.
If you have recently experienced a property fire, the best way to clean smoke damage and eliminate the unpleasant smell is to call the fire and smoke damage restoration experts in your area.
Items Commonly Damaged by Smoke and How To Clean Them
Most carpets are made of synthetic materials that can sustain permanent stains in just a matter of days. They can still be cleaned if they have not been significantly affected by the heat, water, or any chemical agent used to extinguish the fire.
Upholstery and Curtains
Like carpets, upholstery and curtains can become discolored from smoke damage. However, note that using a regular home vacuum will only push the smoke particles and soot deeper into the material, making them harder to clean.
Finding the right filter, hose attachment, and alkaline cleaner is key to cleaning these materials efficiently.
Bedding and Clothing
It may seem unlikely, but your bedding and clothing hidden away in your closed drawer or closet may still be affected by smoke. Taking them outside and shaking off any soot particles before washing them may do the trick, but persistent odors may require using a strong laundry detergent.
Cleaning smoke-damaged furniture can be tricky because using the wrong cleaning product can strip the wood’s stain and varnish. Furniture with metal frames can also suffer damage since certain cleaning products can rust the material.
Using a dry cleaning chemical sponge can help in this situation. If you’re unsure how to proceed, the best way to clean smoke damage on your furniture is to call the experts in contents restoration.
Porous Hard Surfaces
Drywall, wallpaper, and exposed wood are porous surfaces that can quickly become permanently discolored.
Dry cleaning chemical sponges can also help clean smoke damage on walls and prevent soot from penetrating deeper into the material. However, cleaning them immediately is crucial in preventing irreversible damage.
Hardwood floors are also porous, which makes them vulnerable to fine smoke particles.
In minor cases, mopping and deodorizing are enough to clean the surfaces. However, hardwood floors significantly affected by both smoke and water from the firefighting efforts may need to be refinished or replaced.
Soot can corrode metallic surfaces, like those in large appliances. Wiping them with cooking oil can help prevent staining and rusting while buying you more time to do thorough cleaning. However, delaying cleaning these items can cause the metallic surfaces to pit and corrode and ultimately require refinishing or replacement.
Make Your Home or Business a Safe, Healthy, and Welcoming Environment Once Again
Smoke damage is challenging to address because it’s caused by fine particles penetrating deep into building materials, furniture, and other items. Moreover, it can often lead to permanent stains and damage to your belongings.
If you have recently experienced a fire on or near your property, you can call on trained and certified technicians to take a comprehensive approach to fire and smoke damage restoration. The highly experienced team at Restoration 1 ensures your home or commercial facility is safe and healthy once again.
Contact Restoration 1 anytime for all your fire and smoke damage repair needs. We work thoroughly and efficiently to make your property look good on the outside — and safe on the inside!