Dealing with the aftermath and realities of a house fire can be stressful and frustrating, as fire damage is an emotionally draining experience. However, thanks to the fire department and home fire safety measures, not every house fire case results in total devastation.
Though the cleanup process may be lengthy, we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks to assist how to clean up after a fire.
What to Do After Experiencing a House Fire
Assess the Damage and Inspect Your Home
The most important thing to do following a house fire is to inspect it for safety. There could be hidden electrical or structural issues that need to be addressed before cleaning begins, so have a fire marshal or a representative from your insurance company inspect the property.
Before your insurance company sends a representative to assess the damage, you must file an insurance claim, and they may provide you with a list of experts who can assist with the cleanup.
Even after you’ve confirmed the structure’s safety, you must still take precautions before entering. Protective clothing, such as closed-toed shoes, long pants, and face masks, should be worn.
DIY Cleaning or Hire Professionals
Fire damage cleanup is a multi-step, difficult task that frequently includes dealing with smoke, fire, and water damage.
The cleanup process entails removing debris, standing water, smoke particles, and soot accumulation in vents and around the home, cleaning fire extinguisher dust from surfaces, and many other tasks.
If the cleanup becomes too much for you, consider hiring a professional fire damage restoration company.
Cleaning the Exterior of the House
Before beginning any exterior cleaning, have a professional inspect the foundation, roof supports, decks, and entrances. Examine the roof gutters for debris or ash that could cause further damage.
As soon as possible, use a power washer on the exterior walls to remove as much soot, ash, and chemical fire retardants as possible. If the damaged area is small, use a stiff brush to scrub surfaces with a solution of borax and warm water to remove stains.
It is best to begin cleaning from the top of your house so that water and grime do not run into unclean areas. For the windows, you’ll need a glass cleaner, and remember to wear protective clothing while cleaning.
Cleaning the Home Interior
If you are unable to clean up the damage, call Elite Clean Restoration at (317) 764-9833. They handle all water and fire damage restoration tasks efficiently and professionally.
For minor house fires, open all windows and doors and use fans to increase air circulation to drive out the smoke odor. Using a shop vac, remove any standing water and pull out wet carpets, carpet padding, and vinyl flooring.
Remember to look things up. Ceilings are frequently stained by house fires and may require cleaning before painting. In a gallon of warm water, combine two tablespoons of dishwashing liquid, one cup of chlorine bleach, and five tablespoons of trisodium phosphate; use the solution to remove soot from interior walls, floors, and cabinets.
Wearing rubber gloves, wash the top of the wall with the mixture and a sponge. Mold and mildew growth can be reduced by using liquid household bleach.
Meanwhile, smoke odor can linger in your attic and wall insulation indefinitely. If you can still smell smoke after cleaning, consider using thermal fogging. Instead of tearing down walls and spending money on construction materials, you can have the smoke odor removed with chemical fog.
Eliminating Smoke and Soot from Clothes, Furniture, and Home Accessories
If the damage is minor, you may be able to salvage some drapes and furniture. However, don’t be afraid to get rid of items that have outlived their usefulness.
After cleaning, you may be able to reuse furniture that survived the fire, particularly hardwood furniture. Use a hardwood floor oil soap to clean it. Sand and refinish the furniture to remove more stubborn stains.
Consider hiring a professional if you are unable to clean your furniture. Your goal should be to keep the wooden frame and use it for upholstered furniture. To prevent mold growth, strip the padding and fabric from wet upholstered furniture.
Washable, soot-stained fabrics with an oxygen-based bleach and a heavy-duty detergent according to the care label. If stains persist, soak fabrics in a solution of oxygen bleach and warm water overnight.
For unstained washable fabrics with a smoke odor, add a cup of baking soda to the final rinse cycle after washing. If the smoke odor persists, soak overnight in a solution of water and two cups of baking soda, then wash again.
To avoid mildew, allow all leather items to dry in direct sunlight. Consider having your leather and suede coats cleaned by a professional.
Other items, such as books and home décor, should be placed in a large plastic container with a powdered odor eliminator. For about three days, seal the container. Remove it and sniff to see if the smoke odor remains. If so, reseal the bag.
Items to Dispose of After a Fire Occurs in Your Home
If the power goes out for an extended period of time, you will have to throw out most of the refrigerated food.
Dispose of any food that has been exposed to fire, including canned goods. Even if the cans are not damaged, the high temperatures can cause food to spoil.
Cosmetics and Medicine
Cosmetics and medicines can be damaged by heat, smoke, water, and firefighting solutions, so they should be discarded.
Need Help? Elite Clean Restoration is One Call Away
Cleaning up after a fire can be stressful, but we make the process as stress-free as possible by addressing every issue as soon as possible. Elite Clean Restoration takes pride in providing high-quality service at reasonable prices.
We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and provide emergency services to help minimize damage. Aside from fire damage cleanup, we also perform mold remediation and residential and commercial duct cleaning, and we use the best equipment to complete each task. Call us right away at (317) 764-9833.