How to Deal with Smoke Damage
Dealing with smoke damage can be a complicated and arduous process, so it is good to know the exact type of damage you are looking to rectify. Once the fire is safely put out, it is recommended to first contact your insurance provider immediately; they can provide advice on restoration or replacement of damaged items. If you rent, the owners must be notified so the damaged can be assessed by both parties. Insurance agents may be able to recommend a professional fire restoration service. Fire restorers help provide advice to prevent further damage, help determine which items can or cannot be restored, and help provide estimates and services for cleaning and deodorizing the building.
Smoke damage can cause significant black marks and discoloration to the walls and ceiling of any building where a fire occurs. Soot is the residue left by smoke. It is oily and can easily stain draperies, carpets and other textiles found in the home. Soot must be removed before you attempt to clean or deodorize any other items. If possible, it is recommended to hire a professional restorer for removing soot with a heavy-duty vacuum. If planning to remove it on your own, holding a vacuum cleaner nozzle slightly away from the surface of the item will help remove soot. Vacuum attachments and upright vacuums are not recommended because the brushes can sometimes force soot into fabrics. Cover any carpeting in the area after removing soot to keep other material from being tracked.
Charring is the actual burning of the paint. It is recommended to use a phosphate cleaner to clean soot and smoke damage from the burning of the paint. This type of cleaner can be found at most local hardware stores, otherwise staff may be able to recommend a similar type of product.
Aside from unsightly charring and soot build-up, smoke can leave unpleasant odor that seems to cling to the walls. Depending upon how strong the smoke damage is, one or more of these methods may prove helpful. However, if the smoke odour has gotten into your carpets, drapes or furniture, there isn’t much you can do to salvage them.
Vinegar: White vinegar naturally cuts through odors. Try wiping down damaged materials with white vinegar and place several bowls of vinegar around the damaged area, leaving them there for several days. Try mixing lavender oil into the bowls to help cut the vinegar smell if it is too much to handle.
Baking Soda: Another natural odor-absorber. Sprinkle healthy amounts of baking soda over damaged areas and leave a few bowls of baking soda around the room for several days. This should help absorb odors and make the affected areas smell better.
Febreze: This product uses the chemical compound cyclodextrin to reduce smoke damage. Spraying the area with Febreze can help to reduce smoke odour when the damage is not extreme.
Activated Charcoal: This product, often used as a detoxifying agent, is also a natural odor absorbent. Bowls of activated charcoal (in powdered form) placed around the affected room may help to absorb smoke odors.
Fresh Air: In warmer weather, leave windows and doors open for as long as possible. Enough exposure to fresh air will eventually dissipate the smell of smoke.
Ozone Generators: Ozone Generators may help in reducing or possibly eliminating smoke odor from your house. However, these are expensive products and may not be able to remove the most severe of smoke damage.
For more information on how to deal with smoke damage, call the experts at Matrix Remediation at 1-888-885-8683 or visit www.matrixremediation.com.