Although it sounds like something out of a horror movie, smoke damage can sometimes be the easiest form of home damage to handle. That’s because smoke doesn’t tend to cause severe structural problems (although you should still have your house inspected by a professional), and it usually doesn’t leave permanent stains or odors. Instead, smoke from fires is just soot dispersed into the air.
Smoke, being nothing but vaporized carbon particles, leaves no traces on walls or drapes. However, there are a few more things that come along with smoke besides just what you see. For example, there are chemicals in the smoke released as the fire burns, and these chemicals do leave behind residue when they evaporate into the air. This type of residue could get absorbed into the walls or other surfaces of the home.
What Is Smoke Damage?
Smoke damage is the residue left behind from a fire. Since most houses are made of wood, walls can be damaged by the water used to put out the flames or by heat, smoke, and soot. This can range from discoloration to weakening plaster and even buckling floors over time.
Smoke damage is often taken care of with cleaning products that eliminate odors, remove stains and bring back some vitality to the house. These include detergents, bleaches, or sprays that kill bacteria. Some people also use deodorizing fiberglass filters in air ducts as an additional step in decontamination after the smoke has been released into the home’s atmosphere.
Preventing Smoke Damage
The best way to prevent this type of damage is to avoid fires altogether – particularly kitchen fires, which account for the worst types of smoke damage. For example, a gas stove is a safer option for cooking than an open flame or even an electric range. In addition, passive fire protection can be bought and installed in your kitchen to create further safety measures against fires while you’re cooking. Having an air purifier for wildfire smoke is never a bad idea.
Clear Out the Room and Clean the Smoke Damage
There are a few different ways to fix smoke damage, depending on where it occurred and how bad it got in the dwelling. The first step is to remove everything from the room, empty the drawers, and lay things flat if they were hanging up before. This will allow you to work more efficiently and effectively. You can also vacuum everything. After cleaning all visible residue with soap and water, spray or apply glass cleaner/polish product over the entire surface being treated for further removal of soot stains that may have accumulated in cracks or corners after the initial cleanup drying process has finished.
Once you’ve cleaned up any visible residue, you can start moving back in. It’s a good idea to air out the space for a day or two before you put anything back, just to make sure no residue was left behind.
If smoke damage is extreme or has affected your walls, drapes, and other surfaces, you will probably need professional help getting everything back to normal. You can manage cleaning up the residue left behind but talk to a professional about structural damage that might not be visible.
Cleaning Smoke Damaged Items Around the Home
It’s also a good idea to clean all smoke-damaged items that you want to keep. These can include clothing, rugs, and curtains, just to name a few. It’s easy to forget about these things in the haze of cleanup efforts.
You can start by washing everything with soap and warm water. Suppose there are any odors left on an item after it dries. In that case, you can sprinkle baking soda over it to kill off any odor-causing bacteria or mites, let it sit overnight, and then vacuum up the baking soda before putting the clothes away again. There is no need to use bleach or other strong cleaning substances unless your smoke damage is severe or has gotten on white surfaces like walls, trim work, or ceiling tiles.
Call in the Professionals for Severe Smoke Damage
In some cases, smoke damage can be too severe to handle on your own. This is particularly true if you want to remove the odor from the home entirely instead of just numbing it. Professional services for fire cleanup or even dust control cleanup can help you get back to normal as quickly as possible after a devastating fire strikes.