House fires are incredibly shocking events. The mental toll they can take on a family is almost unimaginable, and then there’s the physical harm. While the fire itself can burn anything in its path, the resulting smoke can be just as detrimental.
Whether you’ve just experienced a house fire or you simply want to grow your awareness about smoke damage, Attic Projects has you covered. We’ll discuss the entire topic and how smoke causes harm to your home. We’ll also review the different types of smoke damage and how smoke damage restoration works.
For more information about cleaning your attic or crawl space, call Attic Projects at (858) 923-4083.
What Is Smoke Damage Restoration?
Both smoke and fire damage restoration are vital after a house fire. Smoke damage restoration includes tossing out possessions beyond salvaging. Furthermore, it entails removing toxins and odors and deep-cleaning all affected surfaces.
How Smoke Can Damage Your House
Smoke can easily travel throughout the house, damaging every room it touches. It harms the house by discoloring walls and other surfaces such as metal and glass. Lastly, it leaves behind odors and toxins that can harm human health.
Types of Smoke Damage
How smoke damage restoration works largely depends on how it occurred in the first place. The five main types of smoke damage have different causes. As such, they each require a slightly different smoke damage restoration process.
Complex Fire Smoke Damage
When items inside your home burn during a house fire, they can leave behind odors and a greasy residue on your surfaces. This process is known as complex fire smoke damage and may include hazardous toxins.
Dry Smoke Damage
Natural and other fires that start with paper or wood can burn quickly and at a high temperature. These fires, known as dry fires, often produce dangerous ash. This ash can find its way into every nook and cranny of the house.
Fuel/Oil Smoke Damage
Fuel and oil smoke damage is rare for households, as it only occurs when petroleum is present. The petroleum residue sticks to surfaces, becoming difficult to remove and clean. It also leaves behind a strong and harsh odor.
Protein Smoke Damage
It’s common for small, low-heat kitchen fires to result in the evaporation of organic matter. This process leads to protein smoke. Protein smoke damage involves burning odors, residue, and the discoloration of many home surfaces.
Wet Smoke Damage
Wet smoke damage results from the burning of plastic and rubber. It produces unpleasant odors and extremely hard-to-remove residue.
What to Do After Smoke Damage?
Once you have smoke damage in your home, a couple of steps are necessary before removal and restoration. Specifically, initial fire cleanup and assessment must happen before smoke damage restoration.
Initial Fire Cleanup
A house fire will likely result in unsalvageable home items and personal possessions. The initial fire cleanup stage involves sorting through these physical possessions to see what you can save and what you need to throw away. It may also require soot removal to best determine the condition of your possessions.
Assessing Smoke Damage
After the initial fire cleanup, the next step is assessing the smoke damage. You’ll need to inspect each room to see where the fire damaged property. However, keep in mind that smoke damage can occur where the fire wasn’t present.
Look for structural damage, and check the floors, walls, and ceilings for residue and discoloration. In addition, note any smoke odor.
Can Smoke Damage Be Removed?
Typically, smoke damage is removable. The extent to which you can remove smoke damage depends on several factors. The main determinants include the condition of your surfaces’ pre-smoke damage, the intensity of the damage, and the materials of the affected surfaces.
How Do You Clean Smoke Damage?
How smoke damage restoration works is a five-step process. These steps will produce the best results in removing and cleaning smoke damage.
Before you begin this process, note that smoke, soot, and toxins within the air can damage your skin, eyes, and lungs. So, wear the proper clothing, eyewear, and mask or respirator to protect your health.
Step 1: Get Rid of the Source of the Odor
The first step is to remove the unpleasant lingering odor caused by the smoke damage. Open all your windows and doors and utilize fans to increase airflow. Furthermore, do not turn on your HVAC systems as they could spread smoke and soot.
Step 2: Clean Everything Left Behind
Next, clean everything still left after the initial fire cleanup. Use a strong vacuum to remove soot. Lightly brushing the area with the vacuum attachment can be helpful.
Step 3: Use the Dry-Cleaning Sponge
A dry-cleaning sponge, also known as a chemical sponge, has specialized stain-removal chemicals. It will lift the smoke and soot from your surfaces without smearing them and worsening the stains. Use a clean sponge as often as possible, turning the sponge and cutting off its sides when necessary.
Step 4: Use Liquid Cleaners
After removing the soot from your surfaces, it’s time to wipe them down with liquid cleaners and a clean rag. Commercial soot remover and liquids like vinegar and rubbing alcohol work well for this task. Apply the liquid to the rag and wipe the wall, following it up with a degreaser and hot water.
Step 5: Dry It All Out and Deep Clean
Finally, take clean, dry rags and dry off all the wet surfaces. Once the area is dry, consider hiring professional carpet and curtain cleaners to ensure any remaining residue or odors are gone. You should also replace your HVAC filters so that no unclean air or toxins are circulating through your vents.
Hopefully, this article has taught you how smoke damage restoration works. Does your attic or crawl space have smoke damage or require any other type of professional cleaning? The experts at Attic Projects are the ones to call.
Call Attic Projects at (858) 923-4083 or fill out our online form to receive a free inspection.