Fire, Soot and Smoke….Oh My!

By / 24th July, 2017 / Blog / No Comments

There is nothing worse than a house fire and with what seems like an overabundance of them in the last few months I figured this blog would come in handy for some. I hope you never need this however if you find yourself the victim of a fire here are some processes to assist you.. Even after the fire has been dealt with, there is the aftermath of the fire to deal with. Common problems include smoke, soot and cleaning up the water and the chemicals that were used by firefighters. The damage to your house shows on your burnt and blackened walls and ceiling.

In order to deal with the problems that occur after the fire has been put out, you need to know about two things – soot and odor from smoke. The following points could be quite helpful:

Soot and Charring

Soot is the residue left by burnt things after a fire. It contains a lot of carbon-based impurities and is mainly caused when the material doesn’t burn completely. The texture of soot is oil based because there are plastic things in every home and burning them leads to oily molecules getting released in the air.

After the fire, many things would be destroyed and replacement would be necessary. However, you can only find out about what to replace after you have cleaned everything up. It might seem like a tiresome task but it should be dealt as quickly as possible as procrastinating it would make matter worse.

You will need the following items:

  • Benefect Atomic Degreaser
  • Rubber gloves for cleaning
  • A Large sponge or the sponge used while washing your car. A lot of cleaning needs to be done, and the sponge should be large enough to soak up a lot of water in one go
  • 2 large buckets
  • Warm water
  • Goggles and a mask to protect eyes and face
  • Rags to clean

Cleaning Process

Use your shop vacuum to clean soot over the surface of things.

After you put on your gloves, use the sponge and soak it into the Benefect Atomic Degreaser. Work section-by-section, focusing on one segment and wall at a time.

First, wipe the surface of the wall or ceiling with the sponge and use hard and firm strokes. After that, dip the rags in clean warm water and rinse the ceiling and walls. Do the same with the other segments until everything has been cleaned properly.

The frequency of the above step may be more than one. It depends on the condition of the house after the fire and how much charring and soot buildup has occurred. You must be careful not to over-wash your ceilings and walls because seepage of water might occur into the drywall or baseboard.

This step is often followed by priming all the walls damaged by the fire and then adding a fresh coat of paint. There might be a lot of soot buildup in the AC filters, and they should be removed. All appliances should be thoroughly cleaned using a disinfectant I suggest our Benefect Disinfecting wipes. A fresh sealing layer needs to be applied on all the surfaces affected by the soot.

Odor from Smoke

After you enter a burnt house, you might smell something but there is no visible damage to account for the smell. That is smoke damage. Usually, people tend to hire professional fire damage restoration experts to deal with smoke odor. This is because the damage is at a molecular level and the solution is complicated that is best handled by experts.

What You Need to Kill the Odor

A simple deodorant or room freshener doesn’t have a smell strong enough to counteract the bad odor from smoke. To deal with smoke, something stronger has to be used to disable odor causing smoke molecules in the air. Below are some items that can help you kill the odor from smoke damage:

White Vinegar – White vinegar has a strong smell and can be used to wipe all affected surfaces. Furniture, walls, floors, and ceilings can all do with a quick cleaning by a rag dipped in white vinegar.

Baking Soda – It absorbs odors naturally and can be left in a bowl in every room. Also, you can sprinkle some over the pieces of furniture and other surfaces to counteract the odor.

Activated Charcoal – This is another natural odor absorber that can be left around the room in powdered form to deal with smoke odor.

Ozone Generators – These are used to deal with the bad odor caused by smoke but are pretty expensive.

Odor Reducing Fogs – Many professional companies deal with smoke odor using special fogs that kill the smell completely.

After your house gets cleaned, you need to make decisions and come up with a budget about what to replace and what to repair.


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