Although a fire can quickly damage a home, the smoke produced by the fire can be almost as damaging. Smoke can not only stain surfaces in your home, it can also leave a noxious odor on everything long after the fire has been put out. In many cases, you may need to hire a professional cleaning company to help get the smell out; however, in smaller cases, you may be able to get the smell out on your own.
Soft surfaces, such as draperies and clothes, are some of the easiest materials to remove smoke from. For washing machine-safe materials, soak them in water overnight, and then put them through a regular wash. It may take up to five times to completely get the smell out. Do not wash them with items not damaged by the fire. Send materials that aren't washer-safe to a dry cleaner, informing the cleaner that the materials are smoke-damaged.
Carpets are a little more difficult to get clean once they have been exposed to smoke. First, use a high-quality vacuum cleaner. Do not use vacuums that use rollers or brushes to clean, as this could beat the soot deeper into the carpet. Next, rent an extraction machine or rotary scrubber to clean the carpets, or hire a professional carpet cleaning service. It is best to clean the carpets once before you begin repairs, and again once you have finished your smoke repairs on the rest of the surfaces in your house.
It also can be difficult to remove smoke odor from walls. First, wipe the wall down with a dry chemical sponge to help remove any lingering soot. Next, spray the wall with a cleaning product specifically made for fire damage such as "Cleansall" or "APC-120", and wipe scrub thoroughly. Next, use a sealing primer on the walls, followed by a new paint coat. The sealer is important as smoke smells can leak through plain paint. Talk to your local paint supply store, or home improvement store about options for paint products available in your area.
It's also difficult to get smoke out of furniture. Smoke from a fire can penetrate deep into the cushions, resulting in lingering smoke smells even after thoroughly cleaning the surface of the furniture, or using odor removal sprays (such as Febreze). In most cases, professional cleaning is necessary.
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