Cleaning up after a fire in your business or home is overwhelming and extensive. In addition, smoke and soot cause health threats to your family. If they remain uncleaned, they continue to corrode and damage your property.
When it comes to eliminating fire smoke and soot, one of the areas that you should focus on is your wall. They may permanently stain, etch, or discolor your walls if neglected. So, should you hire a professional for the job?
Depending on the severity of the soot and smoke stains, you may need to contact restoration companies, such as PuroClean, a New Albany restoration company with many branches across the country and North America.
What Is Soot?
Soot is a carbon residue or leftover that remains after a fire. Burned candles, matches, and other burning material may also leave soot on your property. When organic materials catch fire, they release VOCs (volatile organic compounds), extremely dangerous to human health when breathed, ingested, or absorbed by the skin. They remain on walls and other items inside a property after a fire.
This is why experts warn the public to take caution and preventive measures when entering a property that experienced a fire. These chemicals are especially harmful because they’re tiny and invisible to the eye. They easily travel through the lungs into your bloodstream, which can carry these toxic chemicals to your organs, including the brain.
Smoke and soot can also damage appliances at home, including computers or stereos. Keep in mind that even if these electronics function properly after the fire, the chemicals can still accumulate on their circuits, potentially leading to short circuits.
Tips on Removing Soot and Smoke Stains from Walls
Before starting with the soot and smoke removal process, prepare the following materials:
- Clean rags
- Bucket and hot water
- Vacuum with an upholstery attachment
- Gloves and respirators
- Dry cleaning sponge
- Degreaser or Commercial soot remover
Note: If you have plaster walls, avoid using water-based cleaners.
1. Open windows to increase ventilation.
2. Wear a proper suit and protective gear, such as gloves and respirator, since soot can irritate your lungs and skin.
3. Cover all areas not damaged by soot. Ensure to place a drop cloth for the floor or use newspapers. Move furniture or valuables away to a different room to avoid contamination.
4. Start cleaning by using your vacuum with an upholstery brush to remove soot particles. Using the brush, vacuum the affected area lightly.
5. Get your dry cleaning sponge or chemical sponge to wipe the soot. Avoid wiping the damaged wall with soot cleaner or water first, as this can spread the soot, making it hard to remove with a chemical sponge. You can use the clean side of the chemical sponge once the other side is contaminated. If it’s necessary, grab another one.
6. Continue cleaning by wiping to lift the stains. Avoid a scrubbing motion because this can spread the stains or work them deeper into the surface.
7. Wash the surface with a degreaser, commercial soot remover, or dish soap. Make sure to follow the instructions on the label. Dissolve six tablespoons of dish soap or degreaser in one gallon of hot water as a rule of thumb.
8. Use the same wiping motion you used with the sponge. Rinse the rag as it gets dirty and wring it out in the bucket.
9. Wipe the walls with a bucket of fresh water.
10. Dry the wall with a clean rag and allow the wall surface to dry. You may use a fan to speed up. Some homeowners decide to give their walls a fresh coat of paint. You may also check this fire damage restoration Louisville page of PuroClean for more expert pieces of advice and their services.
When to Call Property Restoration Professionals?
If you’re dealing with a small spot, the steps above may do the job. But if a fire caused significant soot and smoke stains on your wall, it’s always best and safe to call the experts. They have the experience, knowledge, and specialized tools to complete the cleanup process while you take care of your family during these difficult recovery times.
You may visit this PuroClean Georgetown page for more professional tips and details on property restoration.