how to clean smoke damage

How to Mitigate Home Smoke Damage

If you’ve ever burned something, you may realize that the odor of smoke can quickly fill a house. Consider the last time you burned some popcorn or overcooked a dish in the oven. The lingering smells lasted for hours, maybe even days. Smoke residue sticks around long after a fire is out. This blog will discuss the dangers of smoke and what you can do to minimize its damage to your home.

What is Smoke Damage?

Smoke damage is any physical or structural damage caused by smoke rather than the fire itself. Smoke does not burn a room, belongings, or property like fire; nevertheless, it can cause significant problems. Soot can be deposited on personal items, and its lingering odor can be evident long after a fire has been extinguished.

Many people are unaware of how greasy soot can be. It can make items uncomfortable to touch when it settles on them. Soot is especially harmful to fabrics, clothing, and furniture. Soot and dense smoke particles can negatively impact porous surfaces such as plastics and marble. It also causes metals to tarnish or corrode quickly. 

smoke damage restoration
Soot stains are difficult to remove after a house fire.  

Soot and smoke are very difficult to clean up, without a doubt. They can easily infiltrate small spaces such as conduits, pipes, or gaps. Smoky smells can also hide out anywhere there is furniture or carpeting. These pungent smells are typically more difficult to mask or eliminate outright. To thoroughly remove such odors, use specialized equipment and deodorizing techniques suitable for smoke odor removal.

What Are the Types of Smoke Damage in Homes?

The type of damage smoke causes depends on several factors: the type and amount of soot particles released, the location, the ventilation and humidity levels, and the source of ignition should be considered when dealing with smoke damage in your home. Due to so many flammable substances in your home, the smoke damage restoration process requires expertise and precision. 

There are three types of smoke that can cause odor damage in a home:

1. Wet Smoke – This type of smoke is heavy and sticky and is often caused by burning rubber or plastic. The remediation process for wet smoke typically includes using air movers and dehumidifiers to remove the moisture from the affected area, followed by thorough cleaning and disinfecting.

The longer you leave your smoke-damaged property in a damaged state, the more extensive and expensive the damage will be.

2. Dry Smoke – This smoke is often caused by burning paper or wood. It’s lighter than wet smoke and not as challenging to remove. The remediation process for dry smoke usually includes thorough cleaning and using air purifiers to remove the tiny smoke particles from the air.

3. Protein Smoke – This smoke is caused by burning food or other organic materials. Because it’s so difficult to remove, professional ozone treatment or thermal fogging is usually required to eradicate the odor. 

The Impact of Smoke Damage on Your Property

Smoke has various effects on various materials, and the temperature and sort of fire will produce different types of smoke damage on your property, depending on where they are located. 

Consider calling a fire damage restoration company to eradicate soot and smoke stains from your home.

When it comes to smoke damage, time is of the essence. Act fast. The sooner you respond, the more likely you will avoid further damage. Some materials, such as synthetic fibers and porous items, may need immediate treatment to be preserved. In no more than a day or two, damaged components of your home must be addressed, including painted walls and flooring.

The longer you leave your smoke-damaged property in a damaged state, the more extensive and expensive the damage will be.

How to Remove Home Smoke Odors After Fire Damage

The smoke smell after a fire can be overwhelming and nauseating. It can also create health hazards, so it’s essential to eliminate smoke smells as soon as possible. The following are some tips to remove the smoke smell after a fire:

All soot damage is removed in the smoke damage restoration process.  

Remove the Source of the Problem

The first step in the smoke odor removal process is to eliminate the source of the odor. This involves removing burnt items such as furniture, cabinets, and non-salvageable contents. The items can either be discarded or restored, depending on the severity of the damage.

Clean the Salvageable Contents

A professional smoke damage remediation company can clean salvageable items carefully and thoroughly. The cleaning process typically includes washing, scrubbing, and disinfecting surfaces like walls and windows.

Interior items such as cabinets and drawers can be professionally cleaned, too. Often, personal belongings that endured smoke damage which can be restored are removed and taken off-site. Check out how to clean fabrics after a home fire

Clean the Air Ducts

Smoke and soot can infiltrate a home’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system, causing it to malfunction. Thus, cleaning the ducts early in the smoke smell removal process is essential to prevent the HVAC system from recontaminating areas that have been cleaned. Please leave the duct cleaning to the professionals, as it requires specialized equipment and techniques.

Professionally Removing Smoke Odors

The final step is removing the remaining lingering odors. Baking soda is a natural odor absorber that may help temporarily, but professional assistance is usually required. Here are some examples of proven methods:

  • Air Scrubbing. A technician will use high-efficiency particulate arrestor (HEPA) air scrubbers, which can remove 99.97 percent of particulates from the air. Eliminating these airborne particulates can also remove additional source materials for odors, improving your air quality.
  • Thermal Fogging. This process uses a petroleum-based deodorizer emitted from a thermal fogging unit, filling the affected area with a mist-like deodorizer. Fogging counteracts odorous molecules by using fragrance modification for permanent odor neutralization. Before fogging, technicians put out any smoldering flames. Everyone in the treatment area must wear respiratory protection equipment or leave the site.
Thermal fogging throughout an affected area breaks down the smoke molecules. 
  • Vapor Modification. This method uses an aromatic compound vaporized from a sealed plastic container that’s then dispersed into the air by a fan or blower. The mineral oils used in this process are non-toxic, non-oily, non-flammable, and non-explosive. Therefore, customers can choose to remain in or near an area during the smoke smell removal process. The deodorizer also penetrates affected porous contents like upholstery and drapery.
  • Ozone Generator. This is one of the most popular and familiar processes for removing airborne smoke odor molecules, including hard-to-neutralize protein smoke. Ozone is a powerful oxidizer that neutralizes odorous molecules by releasing additional oxygen into the air. While an effective odor remover, ozone is not an “air purifier.” Customers should not be present when an ozone generator is in operation. Trained technicians should enter the treatment area only briefly to turn the ozone generator on or off. Ozone works best in a controlled environment, such as an ozone chamber. Odorous contents can be subjected to 24 to 48 hours of ozone gas.

Contact PuroClean for Professional Smoke and Fire Damage Restoration Services

The process of smoke damage and odor removal is a complex one that must be done efficiently to be successful. Call PuroClean of Massapequa for professional smoke damage restoration. From cigarette smoke to stubborn smoke odor after a fire, we have the necessary training, equipment, and experience to rescue and restore your home after smoke damage. To connect with PuroClean of Massapequa call (516) 604-1200.

Last edited on 15th of November 2023