5 Easy Methods For Removing Smoke Damaged Walls And Ceilings
Only a few events could be as devastating as a house fire. If the fire doesn’t destroy your home, the smoke will likely do its bit. Besides the loss of property and precious memories, house fires usually leave a trail of smoke damage.
When you manage to put out a fire, you face the daunting task of restoring your home. Dealing with smoke damage can be a stressful experience. Here is an article to help you deal with the smoke damage restoration in San Diego.
WHAT IS SOOT?
Soot is the carbon residue that remains after a fire. Because of the acidic nature of soot, it can be challenging to remove. The process is more than just opening a few windows to air things out.
It’s critical to properly remove black smoke and soot from walls by calling a smoke damage restoration specialist in los angeles to avoid health risks and prevent further property damage.
After a fire, it’s imperative to begin cleaning smoke damage quickly. If it remains on walls and household items, permanent staining and discoloration can occur, continuing to oxidize and damage surfaces.
Depending on the size of the fire and the extent of the damage, there are parts of the cleanup you should be able to do yourself. However, the surest and safest way to eliminate smoke and soot is to work with professionals specializing in smoke and fire damage rehabilitation.
Are Soot And Smoke Dangerous?
Fires burn and destroy all the materials they immediately come in contact with. Further damage continues through soot residue and smoke even after a fire is put out.
Fires are hazardous in many ways long after the flames are put out. And adverse health effects are not always felt immediately. There are cases where they don’t appear for months or even years. So, rely on a Professional smoke damage cleanup company in San Diego.
Things You Consider For Smoke Damage Clean Up
Many of the supplies you need to clean up soot and smoke damage are things you may already have at home.
The one item you will probably have to purchase is a dry-cleaning sponge. This sponge is critical to removing the smoke and soot. The sponge helps clean up most of the soot and helps retain the condition of household items.
Here are the things you will need:
- Vacuum with an upholstery brush
- Rubbing alcohol
- Degreaser or commercial soot remover
- Bucket of water
- Dry-cleaning sponge (chemical grade sponge)
- Clean rags
1. Know The Damage
The chemical nature of smoke and soot makes them very difficult to remove. Porous materials have air pockets where smoke and soot can penetrate and persist for a long time.
The chemicals in the smoke and soot make them adhere and stick to building materials and furnishings. And one of the most challenging parts of the cleanup is removing the smell of the smoke.
2. Take Precautions
- Make sure you are wearing protective gear.
- Wear a mask with an excellent filter to prevent the small particles from getting into your lungs.
- Wear full clothes to protect your skin with proper gloves and an eye shield since the soot irritates the skin. The professional smoke damage cleanup company in San Diego take all the precautions for the safety of your health and your property.
As soon as you can open the windows after the fire. You need to ventilate the house and get fresh air flowing.
Open all doors and windows in the home. You can also use industrial-grade fans to simulate airflow. Turn on any ceiling fans and open the vents, but be sure to turn off your HVAC system to prevent the spreading of smoke and soot.
4. Empty The Area
As you are cleaning the soot and smoke from the walls, particles will float around the room and land on furniture, household items, and anything else that’s in the room.
You don’t want to clean everything, just pick up something afterward and release more soot and smoke back into the air.
To protect your contents, remove everything from the room, making cleaning easier.
Remove furniture, paintings or pictures, plants, pillows, bedding or blankets, drapes and curtains, carpets and rugs, and any personal belongings.
If the damage happens in one area, you will need to close off the fire-damaged area from other regions of the house so that soot doesn’t get tracked to other sites.
5. Shield The Foundation
Since you will be freeing soot from the walls as you clean, it’s essential to put protection on the floor.
Be mindful of the shoes you’re wearing, so you don’t track soot stains into other rooms of your home or office.
Cover the entire floor with a plastic drop sheet, newspaper, or canvas.
The soot will float around in the air, so be sure to take the time to cover the whole floor and not just the section near where you’ll be cleaning. Tape the covering in the affected area, so it doesn’t move around as you work.
Begin your cleanup with a vacuum, removing any loose soot particles with a vacuum with an upholstery attachment.
It is best to use an industrial-grade vacuum cleaner with a solid suction for this job.
You can also lightly brush the area with the brush attachment on the vacuum, cleaning up the loose particles. Be careful that you do it gently, without scrubbing, which can make stains worse or cause etching.
7. Use A Dry Sponge
Dry cleaning sponges are specifically made to absorb residue, making them ideal for cleaning up soot.
Remember that because of the oily nature of soot, it is easy to smear, so if you use a regular sponge, you run the risk of pushing the shoot farther into the wall and causing a permanent stain.
Dry cleaning sponges are also called chemical sponges, but they don’t contain chemicals. They are made from vulcanized rubber and are found at building supply stores, hardware stores, cleaning supply stores, and online.
Never use water or soot cleaner before you use the dry-cleaning sponge, or you could spread the soot, making it impossible to remove with a chemical sponge. Using the dry cleaning sponge is very important to remove the soot.
Begin wiping the walls gently with the dry-cleaning sponge. Starting at the top left edge of the stain, wipe the partition using downward, overlapping strokes. Press the sponge firmly against the wall and brush downward in a straight, vertical line.
Then, go back to the top. Keep repeating this, overlapping each line by a couple of inches until you get to the bottom-right edge of the stain and have wiped the entire wall.
Again, cleaning soot off walls is to wipe, not scrub. Scrubbing can move the soot around and cause the stain to spread.
No need to take all these hassles, call emergency smoke damage restoration services in San Diego to handle all.
8. Degrease The Walls
After the dry cleaning sponge method, now is the time to use a degreaser to remove the hard stains.
One option is to purchase commercial soot and smoke remover, make your own like citrus degreaser or TSP, or degreasing dish soap in a gallon of hot water.
Using a clean cloth, wipe all the walls with the degreaser.
Remember that even if there is no sign of soot or smoke damage, it’s crucial to wipe every surface in the room (even light bulbs or replace them). Use the same wiping technique you used with the dry-cleaning sponge.
You may need to use a combination of repeated treatments of these chemical cleaners, depending on the severity of the damage. Make sure you use a clean cloth as you work to not redeposit the soot from one area to another.
As the cloth gets dirty, rinse it out in the bucket or get a new one. The same applies to your cleaning water: Refresh your water if it’s black or smells like smoke. You will probably have to do this often.
Once you’ve entirely washed all the surfaces in the room with your degreaser and hot water, wipe everything down with fresh, clean water and a clean cloth to rinse the walls of the cleaning agents.
When the wall is clean and rinsed, use a towel to dry all the surfaces thoroughly. Let the walls air-dry for several hours and set up industrial fans.
11. Floor Cleaning
Once the walls are clean, you can carefully remove the protective cover you placed on the floor. Peel the tape from the wall or baseboards at a 45-degree angle, being careful not to disturb any soot that has landed on the cover. Starting at the edges, fold the drop sheet over itself without throwing any soot.
12. Steam Cleaning
The smell from a fire can be very tenacious. Even after you clean up the soot, you will probably still smell the odor of the smoke. It may take a few days or weeks to dissipate.
If there are materials in the room, such as furniture or carpets, etc., that may have absorbed the odor, remove them and see if the smell dissipates. You can have carpets, upholstery, and curtains. Professionally steam clean them to reduce the smell of smoke.
13. Replace Filters
Be sure to replace all the HVAC filters in your system and consider having your HVAC professionally cleaned so that you don’t recirculate smoky air in your home when you turn it on.
Cleaning your home after smoke or soot damage can be a challenging job. Smoke permeates the most little pockets of air. If you are cleaning up a small area in a small room or the damage isn’t significant, we encourage you to try it yourself with the 13 tips shared above.
But you may find that even your best efforts are not enough to remove all the soot and smoke from your home effectively. In these cases, do not hesitate to call us. Our smoke damage cleanup professionals in San Diego are trained in proven methods to remove the smell and appearance of smoke and soot from your property altogether.
One of the essential things a smoke damage restoration company in San Diego can do after a fire is to improve the air quality and the property’s ventilation and remove the smell of smoke.
We have access to specialized equipment, state-of-the-art filters, alkaline cleaning agents, and years of experience and training to eliminate smoke.
Remember that the smoke smell is offensive, but its presence indicates that the chemicals in the smoke are still doing damage to your property. The people in the building are breathing the contaminated air. This is why it is so important to remove every trace of the fire, including the smell.
Always choose a restoration company with a proven reputation and years of experience in fire damage. To protect yourself and your property, be sure that they are licensed, bonded, and insured and have stellar consumer reviews.