How to Clean your Things of Smoke and Soot After A House Fire


Earlier this year my house was attacked by arsonists. While I was at work someone broke in and set the house on fire in 3 different room. If not for the elderly lady doing her laundry next to the window across the street and the quick response of the fire department the house could have been toast. Even though the house was spared there was significant damage caused by smoke and soot. This is how I took care of it.

Things You'll Need

  • Mr. Clean
  • Vinegar
  • Paper Towels
  • Fist I separated out all non porous objects. Things made of finished wood, metal or glass. For example a dresser. In an empty spray bottle I mixed 1 1/2 time the amount of Mr. Clean with Febreaze and a 1/3 cup of vinegar. The vinegar helps to neutralize the smell while the Mr. Clean removes smoke and soot left by the house fire. I would clean the dresser with this mixture using paper towels. I didn't use rags because they only will be clean for the first swipe or two, then they just smear the soot. Clean every surface of the dresser, including inside drawers, and the bottom.

  • Next take any clothing you have. You will want to wash all of it at least twice. Some of my more smoke damaged clothes took 4 or 5 washings to clean. When washing it add 1/2 a cup of vinegar to kill the smoke smell.

  • The most difficult things to clean were large non-porous things like couches and mattresses. To start take a powerful vacuum cleaner an hover it over the surface sucking up as much particulate soot from the house fire as possible. Next I suggest letting these air out outside for a week or two if possible. I used a carport for this, because you don't want them to get wet. Next rent or buy a steam cleaning carpet cleaner. Add a 1/2 cup of vinegar to each cup of cleaner solution used. Use this over all surfaces. You may need to do this twice.

  • Electronics need to be cleaned of the smoke from a house fire as soon as possible because the smoke is corrosive to the metal. If you can open up the case on the electronics and take compressed air and blow out the sot in there. A small vacuum could also be used to suck it out. No cleaners here. You don't want to short out something and cause a fire.... come on you have to have a sense of humor to make it through this.

  • Anything that you are unsuccessful at cleaning you can hire a company like servepro to clean with ozone treatments. The prices can add up but are usually substantially cheaper then replacing what ever was damaged in the house fire.

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