Soot and Smoke Damage After a Wildfire
Wildfires are a hazard for many in America, especially on the West Coast. In particularly dry periods, wildfires can arise from any number of things. Since it’s pretty hard to predict when a wildfire will occur, you should try to stay well-prepared ahead of time.Unfortunately, your home can retain soot and smoke damage from wildfires no matter how well prepared you are. Smoke and pollutants from wildfires have traveled thousands of miles to affect homes far from the path of the flames. That means you don’t need to live anywhere near the fire for your property to be on the receiving end of smoke damage and other nasty side effects.
If smoke and ash reach your property, they will settle on every available surface, inside or out. You may think that you can just close your doors and windows to protect your home, but that isn’t enough to stop filth from accumulating on every surface.
Of course, your priority should be getting to safety during a wildfire until the imminent danger has passed. But once you return to your home and belongings, you should try to get rid of the smoke and ash as soon as you can, as well as address any more severe damage they may have caused.
How Can I Remove Soot, Smoke Damage, and Ash?
Before you attempt to clean up the mess, first make sure you have the proper safety gear. The particles and residue that smoke leaves behind can be more dangerous than you might imagine. Ash contains hazardous soot particles that irritate the skin. When inhaled, smoke and soot particles can also irritate the lungs. Ash and soot can be difficult to clean, and doing so can kick more particles up into the air.
Here is an essential list of things you should wear to protect yourself when cleaning:
- Thick-soled shoes
- A face mask approved by the national institute for occupational safety and health
How Do I Clean Smoke and Soot from the Exterior of My Home?
The exterior structure of your home is probably going to be the biggest and most important item on the list to tackle. Start by removing ash from exterior walls and siding that may be affected. We recommend a pressure washer for maximum safety, but you can substitute a hose with a pressure nozzle if necessary. After that, you can remove smoke residue from windows and window sills using a gentle mixture of Dawn soap.
Can I Remove Smoke Damage from Inside My House?
Depending on the type of smoke, it can seep into the porous surfaces of your home, even if your windows and doors are closed. Because it sinks in so easily, the smell of smoke is often hard to get rid of. Smoke odor can also seep into porous surfaces, clinging to things like painted walls, furniture, and clothing.
Cleaning your home after a wildfire consists of more than just removing the smell. If you find ash inside your home, use a mist bottle to dampen the ash. This will prevent it from re-entering the air while you clean it. Dispose of any loose ash and fire-damaged debris in a wastebasket.
If your home uses an HVAC system, be sure to double-check the filters. Sometimes ash sneaks into the system, meaning that using it may be counterproductive. If they seem clogged, they could be spitting more debris back out, which is bad. In this case, it's best to call in a professional restoration service.
Using box fans propped in open windows can do wonders. It helps suck the smokey air out of your home and replace it with fresher air.
Should I Hire a Restoration Service?
Smoke damage can vary in its severity, meaning that the difficulty level for cleaning it isn’t consistent. Hire a smoke damage restoration service like AdvantaClean, and we will clean your house the right way. Hiring a cleaning service also minimizes the risk to you, since it will decrease your exposure to potentially harmful substances in ash, soot, and smoke. AdvantaClean’s cleaning services are grounded in excellence, respect, and accountability. We are a national company with a strong presence in the local community. We know that all of our clients are unique, so we take the time to listen to your needs and concerns.
Our professionals are skilled and dedicated to providing you with an ideal customer experience.
We also fix a lot more than just fire damage. We also offer services that deal with mold, moisture, water damage, air duct cleaning, sanitization, radon, and natural disasters. Learn more about the services we provide, both for businesses and in residential settings.