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The Ultimate Guide to Preventing and Cleaning Smoke Damage in the Home

In the U.S, firefighters respond to a fire every 24 seconds.

House fires are a dangerous reality and leave behind smoke damage and destruction. Thankfully, though, there are many ways to prevent fires from happening alongside ways to clean smoke damage if it occurs.
Not sure how? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about preventing and cleaning smoke damage.

How to Prevent Smoke Damage

The best way to prevent smoke damage in your home is to keep a fire from occurring. Many house fires originate from mundane causes that are easily preventable. To keep your house safe, make sure to be mindful of the following:

Electrical Wiring

Faulty electrical wiring can quickly break out into a house fire, so double-check to make sure yours is safe. Check for and repair any frays or exposed wiring, and don’t run electrical cords under carpets or overload your home’s circuits. If you aren’t sure about the safety of your wiring, it’s always best to have a professional check it out.

Cooking

Carelessness in the kitchen is a major reason for house fires. Never leave cooking food unattended and de-clutter your cooking area to reduce the risk.

Smoke Alarms

Nearly 60% of house fire deaths are because of a missing or a malfunctioning smoke alarm.

Make sure every room has one, test them regularly, and replace the batteries often. Aim to check them once a month and swap the batteries at least twice a year.

Space Heaters

Throw away old space heaters as they often have inadequate safety features that can spark fires. Avoid placing heaters next to furniture, blankets, and clothing as they can cause these flammable items to catch aflame.

Fireplaces

Many families use fireplaces as a cheaper alternative to central heating. Remember, though, that they can pose certain fire risks if not used right.

Be sure to only use firewood and avoid using paper, cardboard, kerosene, or lighter fluid. These can spark outside of the fireplace and catch on carpet or fabric before spreading through the entire house. Also, routinely check the chimney and ensure it’s clean and not clogged.

Candles

Never burn candles in an unattended room or leave them burning near flammable materials. Make sure they’re out of your children’s reach and put them out before you leave the house or go to sleep.

Smoking

If you smoke indoors, never go to sleep with a cigarette burning as it can cause fires. Always ensure you extinguish them properly before leaving them.

How to Clean Smoke Damage

Disaster has struck and now you’re not sure what to do after a fire.

Before you dive into the smoke cleaning process, contact your insurance company to discuss smoke damage insurance claims and assess the damage.

Next, ask the fire marshal if it’s safe to re-enter your home. Always wear a protective device over your nose and mouth to prevent inhaling any leftover toxins.

Once you’re cleared to enter, here’s how to clean smoke damage from your home.

Cleaning Clothes

Before you Google “how to get fire smoke out of clothes?”, know that there are two ways to do so.

Cleaning your clothes as soon as possible is the key to removing the smell. Remove any clothes that have smoke damage as the soot can be hazardous for your health and for those around you.

It’s tempting, but don’t throw them in a washer or dryer as the heat and motion will make the smoke smell seep into the fabric.

Instead, soak the clothes in warm water to get the smell out. You can also add washing detergent or white vinegar. Leave the clothes soaking overnight and then rinse to see if the smell remains.

If it does, repeat the process. Once the smell has vanished, put your clothes in the washer.

Another answer to “how to get smoke out of clothes after a house fire?” is to seek professional help. Professional cleaners will use an ozone treatment to destroy the smell as it’s specially designed to restore fabrics after a fire. During the process, the smoke molecules embedded in the fabric are targeted and broken up, leaving you with clean clothes.

Surfaces

Smoke damage will affect nearly every surface within the property, so you must do a thorough cleaning.
You’ll notice spots on hard surfaces and your furniture that look dust-like. These are actually oily, so don’t smear them around. Instead, use a vacuum to remove loose soot and then wipe the surfaces down with a dry chemical sponge.

Use Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) for a powerful cleaning solution, but remember to wear heavy-duty gloves, a pair of goggles, and old clothes before using it. Pour one gallon of warm water into a standard bucket and add 1 tablespoon of TSP. Wash and repeat until the layer of smoke damage is gone.

Cleaning the Kitchen

If the fire started in your kitchen, cleaning will be harder as your cooking utensils and dishes will be covered in smoke residue.

You can suffer from health problems if you eat food contaminated by smoke, so clean the room thoroughly. Wash your kitchen counter, cabinets, and utensils with dish detergent to cut through the grease, and rinse each area twice. Use a vacuum along the walls, baseboards, ceilings, and inside all the drawers and cabinets.

That’s Everything to Know About Cleaning Smoke Damage

Remember to always take precautions to prevent fire hazards, including installing smoke alarms and being mindful as you cook.

If a problem arises, cleaning smoke damage is crucial as soot can be detrimental to your health. Target every area with TSP or detergent so it cuts through the grease and dissolves the smoke damage.
Wash clothes and fabrics with warm water, or call professionals to use an ozone treatment on your clothes to ensure all soot is eradicated. Good luck with your cleaning!

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