Some household materials are more resistant to smoke and soot damage than others, but most become damaged over time if smoke and soot is not removed quickly. This means timing is crucial when trying to clean up after a fire. The best action to take is to call in the fire and smoke damage experts as soon as the fire is extinguished. But until they arrive, the specialists at ServiceMaster Restore have complied a list of priorities and information on how you can clean and prevent smoke damage on many common household items yourself.
- Within minutes you should wash as much of the smoke and soot damaged porous materials in your home as possible. Clean porous flooring such as tile, marble, or wood, as well as plastic and PVC items. Damage to these materials can become irreversible very quickly. For plastics, use an alkaline cleaner. Wood can be cleaned with a vegetable oil-based soap such as Murphy Oil Soap.
- Within hours metal begins to corrode. Wiping metal surfaces down with cooking oil can buy time before a more professional and thorough cleaning can be done. The oil acts as a barrier, helping prevent rust and further corrosive damage. Wood furniture may start to lose its finish, so wiping it with a dry cleaning sponge, found in the paint section of most stores, can help. For finished wood, washing with an all-purpose cleaner can help delay further damage until fire restoration professionals can arrive. Porcelain fixtures also begin staining at the same time, so wash them with soap as soon as possible.
- Within days discolouration to fabrics including clothing, upholstery, curtains and carpeting will begin. Wall discolouration from smoke and soot will also start to show during this time. Although you may be tempted to vacuum these surfaces yourself, this can transfer the soot to other surfaces. Professional fire damage cleaning technicians use specialized cleaning equipment and solutions to clean fabrics properly and thoroughly, to restore materials and prevent soot and smoke damage and odour from embedding or spreading to other areas of your home.
- As soon as possible you should call smoke and fire restoration professionals. Smoke damage specialists have the expertise and specialized equipment and solutions to save as much of the smoke damaged contents of your home as possible, and will save you time and money in the long run. Trying to clean certain materials and surfaces without the correct products and equipment can worsen the problem.
- Don’t try to wash papered or painted walls or clean carpeting yourself, or touch anything sooty with your bare skin. If it’s unavoidable, wear rubber gloves to prevent transferring oil from your skin and setting the soot. Exposing your skin to soot can also be a health hazard and can spread it to other areas of your home.
WHAT CAN BE SALVAGED FROM SMOKE DAMAGE?
Whether something is salvageable or not depends on what it is made of and how quickly it can be cleaned. Many plastics, PVCs and metals may need to be replaced. A trained smoke damage professional can quickly evaluate what is salvageable, and what would be a waste of time to try and restore. In all cases, however, time is of the essence, so calling in the professionals as soon as possible after the fire is the best way to salvage as much of your home and belongings as possible.
Smoke damage and smoke odour removal requires professional know-how and specialized products and equipment to get the job done thoroughly and effectively. Our team of trained technicians use advanced products and methods to restore your home and belongings professionally, and as quickly as possible. And our odour neutralizing techniques such as ozone and other proprietary treatments will effectively remove the smoke odour from your home, so you can breathe easy again.
AVOID COSTLY DAMAGE TO YOUR HOME
Calling a ServiceMaster Restore fire and smoke damage professional will help assess the damage to your home and begin the restoration process as soon as possible, to prevent it from worsening or becoming a health risk. Insurance can help with the cost of restoration, and our professional expertise in determining what can and cannot be salvaged will help reduce the overall cost in the long run.
If a fire should occur in your home, contact your nearest ServiceMaster Restore location as soon as possible after the flames are extinguished. Acting quickly can make all the difference when it comes to reducing the damaging effects of smoke and soot in your home. Our network of local experts are ready to help, and they have the experience and the equipment needed to restore your home after fire.