Experiencing the aftermath of a fire is a traumatizing and an emotional process. It is a daunting task cleaning what remains and replacing what has been destroyed. The property that remains after the fire may get damaged by water and chemicals used by firefighters. Smoke and soot may also damage property even where the fire was localized.
Reclaiming the sense of your home is essential. Clean the smoke and soot in your house and repair damaged properties. Whether you were affected by a wildfire or a standard house fire the process of recovery is the same. Here are the steps to follow in the clean-up exercise.
After-fire Cleaning Process
1. Seek Permission From Fire Marshal to Reuse Your House
You should get reassurance from a professional that it is safe to re-enter your house. It can be dangerous to get back into your home and fire ignites again. The sooner you are allowed back will depend on fire severity and firefighting method.
2. Ventilate the House
While inside the house, first open the windows of every room to allow air circulation. Make use of a fan to increase airflow in the place. Air circulation will expel any residual smoke and provide fresh air for you to breath. You can also supplement the process with a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture. It will be particularly useful where water was used to fight the fire.
3. Dry the Wet House Before Cleaning Smoke Damage
The approach you will use to dry the house will depend on the amount of water used to fight the fire. Where water hoses were used, a lot of water may have poured in the house. In this case, you need to pump out water. Where the house was not much flooded, you can use a bucket and an old towel to remove the water.
4. Clean Smoke from Your Walls and Ceiling
Before anything else, wear safety goggles and heavy-duty gloves. Safety goggles will protect your eyes from soot while gloves will protect your hands from chemicals. Wear old clothes that you can later discard for getting stained. Put on a hat as well to protect your hair from soot.
When you are ready to start removing soot, drop a wet cloth on the floor to hold it. It will prevent smoke from falling on the carpet or the floor. Use a vacuum cleaner or a dry chemical sponge to remove sediment from the walls. It is advisable to have several dry chemical sponges. When soot saturates one, you can use another.
Trisodium phosphate solution (TPS) is also necessary for soot removing. It is a more powerful solution that eliminates soot completely. Pour I gallon of warm water into a bucket and add one teaspoonful of TPS. Use a sponge to scrub your walls vigorously with TPS solution. Then, use clean water to rinse the wall that you have cleaned using TPS. If your walls do not get clean, you can consider repainting. Also remove smoke from furniture, clothes and other items.
5. Remove Soot Odor from Your Household Textiles
You can achieve this by using detergents. Dissolve a cup of dishwashing detergent into a gallon of water. Submerge all your textile for one night. Then clean them as usual and dry. For stubborn odors contact a professional who can help you remove them by use of chemicals.
Fire recovery can be a daunting task. But with the help of your family members and experts, you can win back the glory of your home. You only need to accept the situation, put some effort and have patience.