Cleaning up after a fire can be an overwhelming task. In general, it’s recommended that you seek professional cleaners. Professionals are trained in fire-specific cleaning techniques and have experience with industrial-strength cleaners and equipment. They will be able to identify where smoke smells originate and employ proper cleaning techniques to restore the area without causing further damage.
If you’re a go-getter and want to get your home back to normal as soon as possible, there are several things you can do to get the cleaning process started.
First, it’s important to remember to get clearance from the fire marshal before you re-enter your home.
DIY Cleaning Tips
- If your property has experienced water damage, open windows to prevent the growth of mold and mildew. Set up a fan during the summer or a space heater during the winter to help speed along the drying process. Remove items that are wet such as upholstered furniture, clothing, and rugs and dry them.
- Remove soot from all items you plan to clean before attempting to clean or deodorize them. Soot is oily and will require specialized cleaners for removal. The type of cleaner will vary depending on the type of surface that needs cleaning. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Wash clothing, towels, and bed linens that have been affected by fire or water damage in warm water. You may need to soak your clothing overnight or launder your textiles several times before the smell dissipates.
- Dry clean drapes and other dry clean only linens. When you visit the dry cleaner, ask about using ‘counteractants’ – additives that eliminate smoke odors by breaking up odor-causing molecules.
- Hire a professional carpet cleaner to remove soot from your carpet. Many home vacuum cleaners can actually push soot further into carpet fibers instead of removing it. If you prefer cleaning your own carpet, rent or purchase a rotary scrubber or extraction machine. You may need to clean your carpet several times.
- Do not enter your home until you have been given clearance by the fire marshal.
- Do not use electrical appliances that have not been professionally repaired or cleared for use after water damage.
- Do not touch items with soot on them in order to prevent moving soot from item to item.