Dealing with the aftermath of a fire in your home can be a daunting and emotional process. Not only you will need to ensure that your property is safe and to keep a record of all damage to your property but also you have to deal with the clean-up and repair work. But with so many things you have on your to-do list, including the array of emotions you are going through, you might not know where and how to start. This guide will help you deal with the cleanup process after a fire.
Follow this guide to help you recover faster and to know how to clean up a home after a fire.
How To Clean up After A Fire
First off, Inspect Before You EnterIt is important to inspect your property first before entering your home. Fire can wreak havoc your home. Electrical wiring might have been damaged, ceilings may be unstable or show some signs of sagging because of water collection, and walls and flooring might have been weakened. Talk to the responding officials to know if it is safe to enter or you may ask a fire marshal or a representative from your insurance company to have your property inspected.
If the damage is severe, it is best to leave the restoration process with the professionals. They are experienced in removing any excess water and repairing severely damaged wood and building materials.
Document The DamageTake as many photos and videos as you can of all fire damaged personal belongings and make a list of all your valuables with their monetary value. Your insurance company will ask for proof of the damage to your property. These documents will help with your insurance claim.
Cleaning The Exterior After A Fire
It is best to start cleaning up the exterior of your home to ensure that foundations, entrance, and support of your roof deck are in good condition before cleaning the inside. Start from top to bottom and follow these tips;
- Check the roof gutters and clean them to remove any debris or ash that is blocking the system and may cause additional damage.
- Check foundation walls and remove as much ash, soot, or chemical retardants as possible. You can use a power washer to do it. Alternately, if the surface damage is not too big, you can use a stiff brush and a water/borax solution to remove smoke and soot.
- Clean windows with glass cleaner.
- Remove any solid debris, soot, and grime on the walkways and driveways through power washing.
Cleaning The Interior After A Fire
Soot, smoke, and even water that was used to extinguish the fire can quickly damage the surfaces of your home. Do the cleanup process as quickly as you can to prevent further damage.
Once your property is deemed safe to enter, you still have to be extra cautious. You should wear some protective gear like a face mask, safety glasses, work gloves, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants. Also, protect your feet with close-toed shoes. It is also best to keep small children away from the damaged area.
Removing Smoke and Soot From Walls And Ceilings
- To remove soot and smoke from your home’s walls, ceilings, and flooring, use a mild soap, detergent, or a mixture of trisodium phosphate and a cup of household cleaner to one gallon of warm water. Make sure to wear gloves when using tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) as it is acidic.
- Start from the top of the area that needs to be cleaned then rinse it with clean warm water. Dry it thoroughly then work on the other sections of the damaged area.
- Sanitize the damaged area using a bleach and water solution. Wipe down all the surfaces that got wet with bleach solution. This also helps reduce the chance of having mold growth.
Removing Smoke and Soot From Fabric
Make sure to test items first before using any treatment.
- For soot-damaged fabrics that can be washed, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use heavy-duty detergent and an oxygen-based bleach.
- If the smoke odor is persistent, dissolve 1 cup of a household dishwasher detergent with 1 gallon of warm water and soak the clothes overnight. Wash the items, as usual, the next day.
- For other fabrics that cannot be thrown in the wash, get advice from your local dry cleaners. They can give you recommendations on what to do best.
Water Damage After A Fire
- Remove any standing water using a shop vac or some old mops and towels. Some building materials of your home are porous and can absorb water. This will then lead to water damage that may require costly repairs.
- Pull out all wet materials including furniture, electronics, and others. Place them in areas dry and safe from water damage.
- Dry wet items like drapes, furniture and carpet as soon as possible to prevent mold and mildew growth. Or, use aluminum foil or plastic wrap under the furniture legs to protect them against water intrusion.
- Open windows to increase air circulation and set fans and dehumidifiers to dry out the affected area.
Contact Professional Fire Damage Restoration Company
While there are many ways you can take to clean up your home after a fire, keep in mind that hiring a professional restoration company is your best option for certain tasks. A professional restoration company, like Superior Restoration, is skilled and equipped in getting your home back to its pre-damaged condition.
For fire damage and water damage restoration services, contact Superior Restoration today.