Cleaning Your Home After a Fire
When the firefighters leave, you might want to start cleaning your home immediately. It may seem like the danger is gone and the home is safe from further destruction, but without professionals to help clean the smoke damage, your home will never return to normal. There are other things that a fire leaves behind that can really damage the property. You will notice that an extraordinary amount of ash and smoke are left behind that can begin to cause corrosion, discoloration, unpleasant odors, among other damages.
If a professional isn’t hired to immediately clean up the smoke and fire damage, the costs for restoration will hit the roof after a few weeks. Metals may need to be replaced, carpet will permanently discolor and glass may be severely engraved, needing replacement. Keep in mind that due to the acidic nature of the ash, the longer it takes to hire experts, the more destruction it will cause.
Different types of fire require different cleaning techniques. Typically, high-oxygen fires will result in dry dusty soot, whereas slow-burning, low-oxygen fires will result in greasy wet deposits that easily smear. The cleaning regimen must take into account these variations.
While the principles behind fire restoration are fairly simple, it requires a lot of experience and manpower to perform effectively, and this means that it shouldn’t be attempted by a homeowner on his or her own. But don’t get discouraged, even if you hire a professional fire restorer, by following these guidelines you can also give a hand:
- Open windows to ventilate areas. Install a fan to circulate air. If there has been considerable water damage and the weather is warm, you will probably need to keep the windows shut and run a dehumidifier.
- Wear gloves like dish washing gloves, long sleeved shirts and pants to avoid skin contact. If you get any ash on your skin, wash it off.
- Wear personal protective equipment, such as a dust mask, to avoid breathing in ash and other particles.
- Remove burned articles and materials to reduce odors.
- Wipe all metallic finishes with cooking oil to prevent corrosion and staining.
- Clean plastic or surfaces such as PVC windows and white painted surfaces using a mild alkali detergent to remove possible acidic soot, which may activate with moisture in the air (humidity) and cause permanent staining.
- Place aluminum foil or plastic food wrap under furniture legs. Remove oriental rugs or other colored rugs from wet wall-to-wall carpeting.
- Cover dry, clean items with plastic while repairs are in progress. Deodorants or fragrances should not be used as they mask odors, which is a significant indicator of health concerns.
- Where surface staining cannot be removed, consider the use of specialist paint to obliterate the stain and anti-bleed characteristics. Typically, these paints are lacquers or oil-based.
- Wash regular clothing in warm water with a liquid detergent. Several laundering may be needed.
“Do it yourself” techniques very rarely work to resolve issues of ash and smoke residue left behind after a fire. Inexperienced attempts at trying to complete such tasks could lead to further contamination and damage of your home and personal possessions. If at all possible, the best option is to reach out to a reliable fire restoration service with the licenses and certifications to complete such services in your area.
SERVPRO® Martin and Saint Lucie County is a company with more than 40 years of leadership in Fire and Smoke Clean up Fort Pierce, cleanup and restoration. Our track record of results has earned us the trust of the insurance industry, countless homeowners, and in one unforgettable instance, even the Pentagon. Our goal is to help minimize the interruption to your life with our Fire and Smoke Clean Up Fort Pierce and quickly make it "Like it never even happened."