After a house fire, you are stuck cleaning up a smelly mess. Where do you start? Are you even qualified? Well, you are not alone in facing this disastrous scenario. Half of the homefires in the US start in the kitchen. But you are at risk of a fire in any room. Comfortable, cozy bedrooms are prone to fire damage due to fuel: clothing, bedding, carpets, mattresses, curtains.
And keeping your bathroom warm also has risks; space heaters can be dangerous. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that space heaters cause more than 25,000 residential fires each year. And while chimneys and fireplaces help during cold Massachusetts weather, structural problems with them could potentially cause a fire.
Fires cause considerable damage to homes and their fabric and upholstered contents; however, “after the fire” actions can cause more damage. Under the right conditions, these materials can often be refurbished after a fire. But if scorched or drenched with dirty water, you probably can’t save them. For a successful cleanup, you have to take the steps in order.
Before carpets, draperies, upholstered furniture and clothing can be cleaned and deodorized, the oily soot must be removed or it will stain. Professional fire restorers use a commercial vacuum (and a lot of care not to track that soot around.) Don’t attempt to clean any household textiles yourself; you can cause additional damage. Until the team from Bostonian Cleaning arrives, stay out of the mess and don’t touch anything. Don’t attempt to clean expensive carpets or fabrics on your own, you will smear soot into the fabric.
However, you should dry wet rugs, drapes and clothing quickly to prevent mold and mildew. Manage the ventilation; open windows. Change the furnace filter at least once a day until the filter shows no soot to help keep particles from being distributed into the rest of your home.
Every situation is different, depending on the materials, level of heat, and length of time involved. For example, removing smoke odor from wood needs different processes than smoke odor from plastics. Smoke particles can get into the spaces between the walls. During a fire, the heat will expand pores in the walls and fill the pores with smoke. Later, as the house cools, the cells close and trap in the odor. When the home warms back up, the cells open and release the trapped smells. Professional fire restorers can eliminate the source with the thermal fogging process, which neutralizes the smoke odor.
Household vents and ducts also capture smells in your HVAC system. Sometimes you can clean the debris from the vents, sometimes professional fire restorers will need to use a chemical sealer to secure smoke permanently to the sides of the ducts.
There is a professional deodorizing process that actually breaks up the smoke molecule with an ozone treatment. By breaking the chemical bonds, this safe chemical process will work much better than anything you buy at the grocery store.
Clothing and textiles should always be deodorized before they are cleaned; or else that smell is permanently set in the fabric. Damaged clothing in closets and drawers can be restored by common home cleaning methods. Research results indicate that regularly pre washing and washing is most effective for the majority of washable fabrics.
Fire creates two types of smoke damage: visible soot and invisible odor. As a homeowner, you should not begin cleaning until the visible soil and smoke odor are removed. Let the professionals help. For over three decades Bostonian Cleaning & Restoration, Inc. has been dedicated to providing the highest quality and most reliable restorative services available in the Boston and New England area.
Getting the team in early can often prevent further damage and allow you to more quickly return to your pre-disaster condition. Bostonian is available 24/7 for any fire damage restoration emergency situation.