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Starting Smoke Damage Clean Up

Nov 17, 2007
A house fire is something no one wants to have to go through, but after the fire is over and out, the thing that can damage a part of the house the fire was not even in is smoke. When a fire starts, smoke goes everywhere and is pretty indiscriminate as to what it damages. It damages basically everything in the house. What can you do after the fire trucks are gone and the cleanup has to start? Here are a few things to get you started.

Your house might smell like smoke for a while until you get the place cleaned up, but you can always assist getting the smell out the door by, well, getting the smell out the door. Get some box fans and open all the windows and doors of the house so the air can circulate in and out of the house, carrying the smell along with it.

Soot that becomes built up on the walls and ceiling is pretty ugly. Anyone who has moved into a home that has had people who smoke living in it knows this fairly well and the only real thing that you can do to completely get rid of the look is paint over it. It sounds labor intensive, but if you do not want to do this, you can always hire someone to do it for you or maybe someone in your family or community will help you for free. Not too many people will volunteer for things like this, but if you are physically unable to do the job, it never hurts to ask around for some help.

You should try not to walk on carpet, if possible. Replacing the carpet is probably a good idea, depending on how much damage there really is to it, but if you want to try and keep it, you will have to vacuum it carefully. An upright will not work for this, since there are brushes on the bottom that will scrub the soot into the fibers. After you vacuum it, you need to have it steam cleaned. This should remove the smell, but if it does not, you will want to replace it.

Upholstered items in the house will also need to be vacuumed with a vacuum without brushes. Do this carefully.

Your curtains and other fabric items all around the house will need to be shaken out, washed, and dried naturally. Do not use an electric dryer to dry these, because it essentially bakes the smell of smoke into the item and makes it almost impossible to get out.
About the Author
Jim Corkern is a writer and promoter of
Hawaii Wet Crawl Space Flooding Emergency Service and
Nebraska Flood Damage Restoration
Which are Certified IICRC Water damage and mold remediation contractors.
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