Whenever there is a fire in your home, some of the greatest damage is actually caused by the smoke caused by the fire. This is largely due to the pervasive nature of smoke. Whenever it travels through your home, smoke will quickly travel upward, using any crevices and pathways that it can find. This includes power outlets, plumbing and more. Because of this, smoke damage can be found in many areas that you may not first realize were affected. Because of the delicate nature of smoke damage, it is important to know what to do and what not to do in the case that your home is damaged by smoke.
What to Do
· You should start by blowing off or vacuuming any loose soot from any carpets, drapes or upholstery. You can then use old towels, linens or tarps to avoid any additional damage.
· If any food was open when your home was damaged, throw it out immediately. It could be damaged by smoke and soot, making it not only unpleasant, but dangerous to consume.
· If you have lost power as a result of the fire in your home, make sure to clean all food out of the refrigerator and freezer. If your power remains out, leave the doors propped open so that it can air out properly. This can help avoid many terrible odors.
· Wipe soot off of any and all smooth surfaces. This includes porcelain, chrome, and Formica in your bathrooms and kitchen. If left in place, soot can cause etching in these areas.
· Change your air filters, and tape damp cheesecloth over all of the outlet and intake registers in your home. This will help capture any lingering soot before it enters your rooms.
· Lastly, open doors and windows if the temperature allows. This will help to diminish any lingering odors.
What Not to Do
· If you have any walls that are flat painted or papered, talk with a local professional before cleaning. If cleaned incorrectly, you could just make the problem worse.
· Beyond blowing off or vacuuming, do not attempt any further cleaning of carpets or furniture.
· Do not operate any electrical components that were near fire or water before a professional ensures that they were not damaged. If in doubt, replace these appliances for your safety.
· If your ceiling is wet, do not use any of the light fixtures or ceiling fans. This could result in a short circuit or other serious electrical issue.
· Do not hesitate to call a professional to help you clean up your home!
Although there are many things that you can do yourself when you have smoke damage, it is important to have a professional cleaner come and survey the full extent of what has occurred. In addition to providing cleaning that will not further damage to any of your home, they can give you tips and advice for managing any soot that remains in your home. Smoke damage can be very destructive. With proper cleaning and maintenance, however, things can be restored to just the way they were before.
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