Fires are one of the biggest disasters in the US. But while some fires are a total loss, not all of them are. Sometimes, fires are smaller in scale, causing partial structural damage. In these cases, the contents of the home can usually be salvaged. But even then, there is usually significant smoke/soot damage to the contents of the home. When dealing with home fire damage, always hire a professional restoration company, such as PuroClean, that knows how to clean smoke damage from house contents. Here’s how we do it.
How to clean smoke damage from contents
1. Safety comes first
The first concern in every fire damage cleanup situation is safety. Restoration professionals will take steps to make sure all workers and others entering a structure after a fire are safe. It is important that the structure is safe before the evaluation and restoration.
Also, keep in mind that, after a fire, indoor air contains floating smoke and soot particles. Smoke/soot particles are Products of Incomplete Combustion (PIC). These are carcinogens and are dangerous. When cleaning up smoke/soot, it is important to wear a respirator, such as an N-95 or N-100. Using gloves and other protective clothing will also protect against soot exposure. Ventilation is key to letting the contaminants in the air outside.
2. Evaluating the damaged items
The next step is to determine which items should be cleaned and where, as well as which items to discard. Cost and antique value are key consideration factors. Professionals evaluate the affected items as quickly as possible, as soot can produce further damage in a matter of hours or days, depending on the material.
In many cases, items have not been damaged directly by the fire or by excessive heat should not be discarded. Luckily, we know how to clean smoke damage from salvageable items.
Most textile goods like draperies and bedding will be taken to a laundry or dry-cleaning facility. Other restorable items, such as furniture, may be cleaned within the home or sent to an outside location.
Food items must be treated with caution. Any open items should be thrown away. Unopened items in original packaging that were away from the heat can be considered safe. If there is any doubt, throw the items away.
Keep in mind that melted or discolored plastic items can’t be restored, only cleaned.
3. Creating an inventory
If a “pack out” (taking contents to a cleaning facility) is necessary, our technicians will keep careful records for items taken, location of the items, and condition of the items when removed. In other cases, we may determine that conditions allow for cleaning and storing the contents within the home, or perhaps the garage. An inventory of all discarded items is essential to receiving compensation when filing an insurance claim.
4. Cleaning the affected contents
Our restoration specialists will perform testing to determine the appropriate product and mix ratio to use on each item. Today’s restoration professionals will use environmentally friendly products for all cleaning and restoration processes. This is an important consideration when choosing a restoration company.
Then, they begin to gently remove soot from each restorable item — either in the home or at another location. The cleaning method depends on the item, such as furniture, kitchen utensils, dishes, toys, clothing, bedding, draperies, and more.
5. Removing the odor
Odor issues come with smoke/soot damage. After the cleaning process, most of the smoke odor will be eliminated. Yet, if there is still a small odor, we may add an additional step to the restoration process. This could include ozone or hydroxyl deodorizing, as appropriate. Learn more about smoke odor removal.
For fire damage restoration, contact the PuroClean restoration pros!
When the contents of a home are damaged by smoke/soot, mitigating the fire damage, cleaning, and restoring the contents to its pre-loss condition is a job for restoration professionals. PuroClean technicians know how to clean smoke damage from contents ethically and professionally. When you call us, we’ll mitigate the loss and restore your property using state-of-the-art equipment and techniques.