If you have experienced a fire at your business or home, the restoration and the cleanup process can be overwhelming and extensive. One area that must be focused on the most is thoroughly getting rid of all the soot from the property and fire smoke cleanup to create a healthy living environment. This is important because soot and smoke are unsafe and toxic for humans and also continue to damage and corrode the property as long as they remain. Permanent etching, staining, or discolourations are all possible if soot and smoke remain on the household items and walls following a fire. Apart from the health hazards, this is another reason to clean up the soot and smoke.
Depending on the size of the fire, there may be few aspects of the cleanup that you may do by yourself. One of these includes removing soot damage and black smoke from the surrounding walls. This, however, can be done only if the fire is well-contained and small.
This article gives you tips and tricks on what to do to clean smoke and black soot from the walls of your property to restore a beautiful and safe place to live and work in.
Several suppliers that you require to clean the smoke and the soot damage are things that may already be available at your home. But you may need to purchase a dry-cleaning sponge. The sponge is indispensable for removing the soot and smoke, so it is recommended that you have this tool during the cleaning process for effective cleaning.
Things You May Need:
- Vacuum with an upholstery brush
- Rubbing alcohol
- Degreaser/ commercial soot remover
- Dry-cleaning sponge (chemical sponge)
- Bucket/hot water
- Clean rags
Tips for Cleanup
- Know the Enemy
The chemical nature of soot and smoke is such that they are difficult to remove. Porous materials have air pockets in which soot and smoke can penetrate and stay. The chemicals in the soot and smoke make them stick and cling to building furnishings and materials. Apart from this, one of the most difficult tasks of the cleanup is removing the smell of the smoke that penetrates the air pockets in the building materials and household.
- Take Precautions
Before you begin with the cleanup, you must wear protective clothing. You must wear a respirator with an effective filter to prevent the harmful particles from entering your lungs. Wear long sleeves and pants to protect your skin. It is also advisable to wear eye protection and gloves to prevent the soot from irritating your eyes.
As soon as it’s possible after the fire, open your window and doors. It’s important to ventilate the house and get fresh air inside the house. Open the vents and turn on the ceiling fans, but keep a note to turn on the HVAC system to prevent the soot and smoke from spreading.
- Empty the Space
There is a possibility that as you are cleaning the smoke and soot from the walls, particles will float around and land on household items, furniture and anything that is in the room. You do not want to clean up everything only to realize that more smoke and soot is in the air when you pick up something. To prevent this and protect your articles, remove everything before you clean. This will make cleaning a lot easy. Remove pictures or paintings, furniture, bedding or blankets, pillows, curtains and drapes, rugs and carpets, and other personal belongings.
- Protect the Floor
Since there will be fall out while removing the soot from the walls, you must put down protection on the floor. Be careful of the shoes that you are wearing so that you don’t end up carrying soot stains to other rooms.
Start the cleaning process with a vacuum to remove any loose soot particles with a vacuum. It is advisable to use a shop-vac with strong suction for this job.
- Use a Dry Cleaning Sponge
Next, use a dry cleaning sponge to wipe the smoke and soot stains. This is essential as the sponges utilize special chemicals to lift the stains from walls. It is specifically made to absorb residue. Made from vulcanized rubber, they can be easily be found in a hardware store, supply store, online, and cleaning supply stores. You must not use soot cleaner or water before using a chemical sponge. Begin wiping the affected areas gently by pressing the sponge firmly against the wall and wiping down in a straight, vertical line.
- Use a Degreaser
After cleaning with the chemical sponge, clean the walls using a degreaser. You can make your own by mixing vinegar, TSP, or degreasing dish soap with a gallon of hot water. Use a clean cloth to wipe the walls using the degreaser.
- Rinse Thoroughly
Wipe everything down with clean water and a clean rag to rinse the walls off the cleaning agents.
- Dry Completely
Use a towel to completely dry all the surfaces. Let the walls air-dry for hours and set up industrial fans.
MD Restoration is an expert in fire cleanup and restoration. It has a team of skilled technicians and the best equipment to help you clean any smoke or soot damage.