After a fire, making smoke and water damage clean up a priority can save many household items that would otherwise have to be replaced. It is always best to contact a professional immediately. They can provide you expert advice on how to deal with your specific situation.
Also, if clean up is not done correctly you may be causing further damage. Following these tips will help prevent further damage and get you on your way to restoring your house.
As always after a fire, be certain the fire department has given you permission to reenter the home.
Move the air. Open windows and install a fan to circulate the air but if there is a lot of water damage and it is hot outside keep the windows shut and run a dehumidifier.
Remove all brass and copper and clean them with appropriate cleaners. Smoke damages brass and copper quickly.
Place plastic wrap underneath furniture to prevent the legs from absorbing mo re water.
Also, if the furniture is on carpet, the furniture needs to be removed, the padding removed and the carpet dried professionally.
Remove soot carefully! Soot is very oily and can stain. This is best done by a professional. If you do remove soot with a vacuum do not use any attachments. Hold the nozzle above the surface to suck up the soot otherwise you may just grind the soot into the furniture. To clean soot stains from walls use a chemical sponge available from a cleaning supply company or other non-water based cleaner.
Always wear gloves and do not use water based cleaners on plaster. It will cause the stain to seep into the wall. Removing smoke odors often requires special treatments called “counteractants” to neutralize the odor. Again, this too is best done by a professional. Most household deodorizers only cover up the smell.
To deodorize clothing use one cup of automatic dishwasher detergent to one gallon of water and soaking overnight. Then launder normally.
Removing smoke odor from the home may require a process called thermal fogging or ozone. Talk to a professional restorer about this process to neutralize odor. They can also use chemical sealers to trap smoke particles inside of ducts thereby preventing odor from recurring.
While these tips will help maximize the effectiveness of your smoke and water damage clean up working with a professional restorer will save you time, money and give you the best chance to recover smoke or water damaged items in your home.