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How to Clean Smoke Damage

Dealing with the aftermath of a fire and smoke damage can cost as little as $3,114 or as much as $27,787. The cost depends on the extent of the damage and if you’re willing to learn how to clean smoke damage yourself.

Something traumatic like a fire in your home or business can leave you emotionally drained. However, if you’re worried about your wallet, it may be time to consider doing some of the clean up yourself. This minimizes the work for professionals and can lead to serious savings. 

To figure out where to start, check out the useful guide below.

Assessing the Damage

Before beginning this project, take time to assess the damage and determine if it’s safe to do it yourself. Some situations may require contacting a smoke damage contractor right away.

It may be difficult to determine if the damage will lead to more problems in the future. Usually, insurance companies will help with this step and provide an expert opinion to determine what can be cleaned and what needs to be replaced.

Collecting Supplies

Cleaning up smoke damage usually requires supplies most homeowners don’t have. Thankfully, local hardware stores usually carry the supplies you’ll need.  

One of the essential supplies for cleaning smoke damage is trisodium phosphate. This is a strong chemical that can damage human tissue, so you also need to pick up some safety gear. 

At the hardware store, look for safety goggles, safety gloves, cleaning cloths, steel wool, and a chemical cloth.

Learning How to Clean Smoke Damage

Different materials require different cleaning processes. Read more about these cleaning processes below. 

Cleaning Up Char and Soot

Soot is the black carbon that settles all over everything in a fire, while char is partially burned material. The ability to clean up char depends on how burnt the material is. 

Make a mixture of trisodium phosphate and water — one gallon to one tablespoon. Use a sponge to soak up the mixture and scrub the walls or furniture. Follow up with a clean, wet rag dipped in water. You may need to repeat this washing and rinsing procedure many times depending on the buildup of char and soot.

Cleaning Up Blisters

Blisters and bubbles can be cleaned up and readied for repainting. You will need sandpaper, spackle, and a putty knife. 

Scrape away the bubbled or blistered area with sandpaper until the area is smooth. Then, spackle the area and wait for it to dry. Again, sandpaper it until smooth. It will be ready for primer and paint.

Cleaning Up Odors

Smoke odors are strong and unpleasant. Some materials, like drapes and carpets, may even need to be replaced. First, however, try a few techniques to see if they work.

Vinegar, baking soda, Febreeze, Ozone Generators, activated charcoal, and even fresh air can help remove odors. You can use a combination of these to see if they work.

More Helpful Home Guides

Figuring out how to clean smoke damage isn’t a skill most people want to learn. It can, however, lighten the load on your wallet. And if you ever feel like volunteering your time, your new skills could help others in the future. 

For more helpful home guides, make sure to browse our page.

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