A fire can start for any reason at any time. It might begin with a power cord spark, lightning strike or splatter of cooking oil on a hot stove. When fire damage occurs, it leaves its mark for all to see and smell. Smoke odor not only fills the air but also soaks into every porous material and lingers long after the fire has been put out. Wood burning odors aren't the only problem. A homeowner might have to deal with pungent and toxic odors from burnt plastics, flammable liquids or foam gap fillers and furniture cushions. At American Restoration, we want every homeowner to know that total fire and smoke restoration is possible. The process to deal with smoke and eliminate it effectively though takes time, patience and hard work.
How can homeowners remove odors and restore their homes on their own?
Prep Space They should start by removing all materials from the area. Some people only recommend removing items that suffered fire damage, but a homeowner must keep in mind that total restoration starts by reducing exposure of clean items to lingering smoke. Also, if one area is burnt and another nearby one is fine, a homeowner should seal off damaged sections so that odors do not contaminate materials in untouched areas.
Purify the Air Throughout the cleaning and restoration process, a homeowner must set up one or more air purifying devices that contain activated carbon filters to absorb odors. Boxes of baking soda placed throughout the damaged area can also help. They should never waste money on ionic or HEPA air filtration systems. Ionizing devices create harmful ozone, only clean a small volume of air and interact in adverse ways with certain chemicals. HEPA filters don't offer enough odor absorption benefits.
Remove All Debris Cleaning up ash and soot isn't an easy task. Creosote creates difficult-to-remove oily stains. Water-based cleaning solutions make a mess that's even harder to remove, and moisture promotes bacteria and mold growth in badly deteriorated materials. A homeowner must start to remove ash and soot odors by rubbing surfaces from the ceiling down toward the floor with a dry soot eraser sponge. Afterward, they should then sweep up remaining particles with a broom and dustbin and finally a vacuum. Application of a liquid solvent with a sponge is necessary to remove stains. To remove lingering odors, a homeowner must use liquid deodorizer spray.
Restore the Home The final part of the process for smoke removal and returning a space to its former physical state is total restoration. If necessary, a homeowner must repair or replace structural materials, furniture, and appliances. Once they complete this portion of the restoration process, they merely need to replace decorative items to make the area comfortable and welcoming once again. Air purifiers should no longer be necessary unless the homeowner uses them to reduce allergy-related dust, pollen and pet dander and odors unrelated to a fire. Homeowners can't solve every smoke-based fire damage scenario on their own. If smoke odor doesn't dissipate or the fire affected a large area or caused extensive damage, they should invest in help from a professional restorer. If something does happen, call our team at American Restoration Water and Fire. We expertly and quickly handle total reconstruction jobs, including smoke removal and structural rebuilds and repairs. We're also available 24/7 for emergency restorations.