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How to Clean Fire and Smoke Damage

Fires are an extremely stressful event. After the fire, you may be wondering what to do next. Highmark Restorations is here to help with some expert tips on how to navigate through the fire damage process.

We've even provided tips on how you can clean the damage yourself if you do not choose to pay your deductible and hire a professional restoration company. 

Steps To Clean Fire and Smoke Damage

1. Call Your Insurance Agent

The first thing your need to do is to assess the damage and know your deductible. Then you can decide whether you can pay to hire a professional restoration service or whether you are going to clean up the damage yourself.

2. If you can, hire a professional

Restoration professionals clean up fire, water, and mold damage every day. They are experts with special cleaning products and equipment. So, if you can afford to pay your deductible and hire a restoration service- do it! This way you will have peace of mind in knowing your home and valuables are properly cleaned and repaired. (See #4 for more information about this).

If you don’t want to pay your deductible then, it’s up to you to take care of the damage yourself. Don’t worry! We’ll provide you with some tips!

7 Tips For Cleaning Fire and Smoke Damage Yourself

1. Make sure the scene is safe

  • You need to have permission from firefighters and officials that your home is safe to go back return to. Though your keepsakes are important, your life matters more! Watch your step when re-entering your home. There could be glass and broken items around your home.

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2. Be prepared

  • Wear closed toed shoes, gloves, safety glasses, and a mask if you’re sensitive to smells.

  • Buy soot removal products, like Jon Don’s dry cleaning soot sponges, Odoban, or any other cleaner you feel comfortable with.

  • You’re going to need proper air ventilation. Get some fans and open up your windows. If you’ve had some water damage, use a dehumidifier when your windows are closed.

3. Take inventory

If you can’t hire a professional to help with your water damage items, you can rent some large fans to help speed up the drying process.

4. Address the damage

Anything in the room of the fire has a chance of being permanently damaged beyond repair, either by water or the fire itself. Electronics can be totaled after being exposed to fire and water damage. Along with artwork and furniture. If anything is even slightly burnt, it will need to go. Otherwise, the burnt smell will never leave. This is how you can easily reach your deductible and be able to hire a professional. Your agent should come out and help you calculate the amount of damage. Restoration professionals can help with this step too since they’ve seen a lot of damage and constantly work with insurance agencies.

Say you have a couch that has been slightly burned in the fire, but you want to keep it.

Don’t.

No matter how much you deodorize and clean, you can only mask it.

5. Try to clean the soot off of your walls

Go around the affected areas and wipe the walls down. You may notice some permanent soot marks. TSP is a common product to clean soot off of your walls. Click here to read more about it. You should be able to easily find this at Walmart, Home Depot, or your local hardware store. The soot will either come off or smear on your wall. If you have flat, glossy paint you have a higher chance of the soot setting in your wall.

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Did the soot set into your wall?

If the soot set in your wall don’t try to paint over it again until you've sealed the soot. The soot will most likely bleed through the paint. You need to seal the wall first. B-I-N is a great product for this step. It will lock in the soot stain. After you let it dry for a day, then you can begin to paint your walls back to their original color.

6. Repair

Along with repainting, you may need to repair your floor or walls. This is another area where things can become expensive. A professional restoration company will return the affected areas back to their pre-loss conditions.

7. Deodorize

Along with cleaning your walls, you will need to clean affected floors and furniture. Anything that is fabric will smell like smoke. This is where deodorizers come in. Restoration professionals have the best equipment and experience to leave your home fresh and clean. The best way to get rid of the smell is by using a HEPA filter of some sort.

As you can see, there is a lot that goes into soot and smoke removal. That’s why assessing your damages and deciding to go with a professional can be extremely beneficial. You can resume your life with the experts remove items, clean up the space, and bring back your items to have your home looking good as new. If you have any more restoration questions please don’t hesitate to ask!

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