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Can Smoke Damage Be Removed?


June 10, 2019
Can Smoke Damage Be Removed?

We may feel grateful in the aftermath of a fire that everyone is safe and unharmed – but flames can take a different toll. Your home or business could be severely affected by what’s happened.

From walls to ceilings, carpets, roofs, stairs, basements and attics, the damage can be widespread. The question is then raised: how to get rid of smoke damage?

The destruction of items isn’t the only side effect of a fire. Smoke and debris are left behind, which can be treated in a number of ways to help restore a home or premises to its previous condition.

This is also true of smaller smoke concerns, such as a poorly installed fireplace or an accident in the kitchen.

Follow us as we expose how to clean smoke damage for even the largest scale fire cases. These are part of our restoration service, and inform the level of specialism you need to retrieve what has been lost.

Can Smoke Damage Be Removed?

The short answer is yes, in almost every case, serious smoke effects can be removed.

Widespread harm can take a while to rectify. Yet when we ask how to get rid of smoke damage, the focus is threefold: soot, water and air quality.

Soot stains are harder to deal with than other wall stains. As soon as you clean them, particles will rise from the surface and circulate around the room.

Water stains, meanwhile, tend to escape attention. But they’re a crucial part of the clean-up process – after all, many fires have to be doused in water, and plenty of damp can remain.

Then there’s the irritable and odorous quality of soot or extreme damp. Residue can linger in the air, produce a bad smell, and have detrimental effects on the body when inhaled.

So while smoke damage can be taken care of, it’s very difficult to do so safely or alone. How to deal with smoke damage effectively boils down to finding the most capable cleaning and restoration organisation.

The good news is that a specialist team can make everything as close to its prior condition as they can get.

How To Clean Smoke Damage

Various techniques are used to clean and restore a smoke-affected space. They range from drying, scrubbing and vacuuming to using specialist liquid agents.

Read below for a step-by-step guide on two of the primary areas you’ll encounter: the ceiling and painted walls. You might be able to do these on your own, so it’s good to know where to start…

How To Clean Smoke Damage From A Ceiling 

  1. Put on protective clothing such as goggles, overalls and boots.
  2. Ventilate the area. Open all windows and doors.
  3. Lay a protective cover down on the floor to catch any falling material. You can then stand on a ladder and use a dry sponge or flat vacuum head to remove loose soot.
  4. Make a cleaning mix of, for example, trisodium phosphate (TSP) or degreaser. Scrub the affected space, then go over it again with a moist cloth.
  5. Repeat this process until you’re satisfied that the ceiling is clean. Remember not to let your skin or eyes come into contact with specialist cleaning liquids.
  6. Eventually, switch to hygiene treatment. Wipe the ceiling with a detergent-soaked sponge, purify it with vinegar, and finally use an odour-absorbent spray.

How To Clean Smoke Damage From Painted Walls

  1. Prepare yourself and ventilate the room as in the first two steps above. Additionally, place a cover around the base of the walls.
  2. Clean what you can with a dry sponge or vacuum nozzle, again like we’ve described above.
  3. Focus on one small section of the wall at a time. Otherwise, the soot could spread thinly across.
  4. Scrub with TSP and a small amount of warm water (soap may be fine for lighter stains, but if the soot marks clearly remain, TSP could be the better choice). Stick to downward hand movements, without letting the scrub lines overlap.
  5. Keep working until there are no marks left. Then apply a degreasing solution – three spoonfuls of sugar soap to half a gallon of water – and go over the walls again with a wet cloth.
  6. Dry the entire surface with a few towels. Again, apply an odour-neutralising spray across the finished surface.

More may still need to be done. Humidifiers are essential to take the odour away for good, whilst soot on carpets, furniture and upholstery needs to be thoroughly vacuumed.

At the same time, the after-effects of the fire might not vanish. They could be too extensive or damaging, with severe damp in your walls, ceiling or floors from any water used to put the fire out.

We’ve explained the principles of how to deal with smoke damage and how to clean smoke damage in a home or business space, including the cleaning agents we recommend for small restorative projects. Yet there’s so much more to explore, such as ultrasonic cleaning, sodium bicarbonate blasts, and power washes with a professional drying routine to follow up with.

Disaster restoration teams like Rainbow International are key in that regard. We treat countless structures around the world every year, many of which are recovering from a fire incident.

Can smoke damage be removed on your own? Yes, it can – with effort and prior preparation.

Can smoke damage be removed on a more thorough level, with trusted practices and extensive experience in the restoration industry? Yes – and we’re well worth your call.