When a fire ravages a home, it’s almost like a loved one has been injured. It’s sad to see a place you’ve lived in and love get damaged, and keepsakes and photos get destroyed. Despite the stress and sadness, it’s important to pick up and move on. By pick up we mean clean up your home and get started on fire damage restoration. By waiting to do fire damage cleanup, you may be further damaging your home. The earlier you start, the more you’ll be able to salvage. Plus, the longer you wait, the more damage there may be, which means your fire damage cleanup bill will only get larger.
Before you have a fire and smoke damage restoration technician come into your home, there are some things you can do to get started on right away to prepare for fire damage restoration. Of course, you should only do these things if you’ve been cleared to safely enter your home. Even if it is safe, you should probably wear protective, long-sleeve clothing, gloves, and a face mask to prevent injury and respiratory problems.
First, make sure to ventilate your home by opening up all the windows. This will air out the home. Using fans, especially box fans and placing them in a window backwards will suck the air out of the home removing the odor. The fire and smoke damage restoration technician who comes to your house will use industrial fans to get the job done, but it’s always good to get a head start on things when it comes to fire damage cleanup.
Go in and scrub down everything. That means all surfaces, including inside drawers, cabinets, and closets. This will help get rid of any toxic residue that might still be there. Using an alkaline cleaner will help neutralize the acid in the soot so you can eliminate the smell of smoke. There are also products on the market known as “counteractants.” These chemicals can break and disperse smoke molecules, which will also eliminate odors. They are toxic, however, so they are best used by a trained fire and smoke restoration technician.
Smoke can absorb into fabrics, as anyone who’s spent an evening sitting by the campfire, then smelled their sweatshirt the next morning. You should wash everything in your home that you can, such as bedding, curtains, and clothing. Much like with surfaces, use an alkaline laundry cleaner to get rid of those smells. For delicate fabrics, it’s probably a good idea to get them cleaned professionally. It’s also best to use the washing machine only if it hasn’t been damaged by the fire, or been inundated with smoke.
When it comes to fire damage, most of the symptoms are pretty obvious. There might be smoke stains or discoloration on walls and ceilings, for instance. However, sometimes the signs aren’t so obvious, and you may need to go looking for the source of a frustrating smell. Air conditioner vents are notorious for holding onto smells, as is the space behind drywall. Soot and ash that’s left to fester will keep stinking up your home until it’s properly cleaned. Make sure your HVAC system is running smoothly so you can blow some of those toxic elements out of your home.
With fire damage restoration, sooner is definitely better than later. Use some of these tips to get a head start on cleanup, and to make sure that your home and your pocketbook don’t suffer any more damage.