A house fire is an overwhelming catastrophe that can cause great damage to your home. Not only does it destroy the structure of the house itself, but it can also damage or ruin irreplaceable personal items.
Your home is where memories are made, and wonderful family experiences take place. For those reasons, many people have a personal connection with their home. When a fire destroys it, this event can be emotional and devastating.
Fire Smoke Damage
The chemicals found in fire smoke produces a lingering odor that is difficult to remove from your home after a house fire. The nature of smoke allows it to easily seep into the tiniest cracks and crevices. As smoke penetrates and seeps into the small, invisible air pockets of a porous material, its corrosive nature goes right to work degrading the materials.
The extent of damage that fire smoke causes is dependent on the total amount of smoke particles that need to be cleaned and removed. The following factors affect the amount of smoke damage.
- Size of Fire. Larger fires logically produce more smoke. The size of the fire will determine the intensity and extent of smoke damage.
- Exposure. The longer the property has been exposed to smoke, the greater the absorption of the smoke and chemical particles in the home and furnishings.
- Materials Consumed. When different materials undergo combustion, they all produce different chemicals with different odors. Some smoke odors are caustic and toxic; some are easier to remove than others.
Getting Your Home Back to Normal
When fire smoke permeates a house, very small smoke particles stick to every surface and become absorbed into all the porous materials of the home. This includes furniture, paint, carpeting, wood, fabrics, furnishings, drapes, and other household items. It clings to walls, vents, floors, and other surfaces in the home.
Depending on the size of the fire and the amount of damage, you may need to call fire restoration professionals like St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration to clean and remove the smoke odors from your home. If the smoke damage is from a small fire and your home did not suffer a long exposure to the smoke, you could do some of the cleanup yourself. Either way, there are some general steps to follow to get rid of fire smoke odor.
1. Re-Entering Property
Before you begin any smoke damage cleanup, you will need permission from the fire department to re-enter your home. There may be hazards that you are unaware of so it’s important for the fire department to inspect the premises first.
Be sure to wear proper protective clothing, gloves, and masks. The chemical hazards that exist from smoke damage, exist in the air you breathe while you clean up and can cause health issues. Be aware that everything you wear inside the building will absorb the smoke smell.
2. Air Out Your House
To get rid of some of the smoke smell from your home, it needs to be aired out. Opening all of the windows and doors will allow ventilation to get the smoke outside. Place fans in the rooms and hallways to help push the smoke-filled air out of the windows. Replacing the smoky air with fresh air will reduce the smoke odor in your home.
3. Remove Furnishings & Clean Surfaces
Every surface and household item that has been exposed to the smoke must be cleaned. This includes ceilings, doors, baseboards, walls, floors, cabinets, light fixtures, and solid furniture.
Area rugs, cushions, curtains, blankets, sheets, clothes, towels, and other fabric or household items should be removed from the home and cleaned. If items are not cleaned thoroughly, the smoke odor will linger and continue to damage the materials. Items that can’t be cleaned properly will need to be discarded.
4. Repaint the Walls
Smoke odors are also absorbed into the paint on your walls. Paint is a porous material and can retain smoke odors after it has been cleaned. Repainting your home will help remove the odors from your home. This is also true of wallpaper, which should be removed and either replaced or the walls painted.
Smoke from a house fire does permeate the vents and lingers inside the ventilation system. Turning on the A/C or furnace without changing the filters or a proper inspection, will only put smoke particles back into the air and cover your furnishings again. You may want to consider having your ducts professionally cleaned.
Restore and Renew
Dealing with house fires can be stressful. St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration can help you focus by managing the cleanup effort. We have the necessary equipment to clean, sanitize, and deodorize your home and get it back to normal. Contact us immediately after the fire is out to get your home restored.