Fire damage is one of the worst kinds of damage that can happen to a home. And the experts here at BroadShield Restoration in Boerne understand how long, and difficult, the process of fire restoration can be. We’re here to help with the construction and insurance side of things, and please do contact us if your home is in need of fire damage restoration.
You may think that collapsed walls or burnt-out rooms are the worst damage a fire can cause, but smoke damage is a more extensive and insidious type of fire damage. Smoke finds its way into every surface of a home, from your upholstery to the soot left on walls. We highly recommend hiring a professional cleaning company for smoke damage cleanup, but if your fire insurance didn’t leave you a large enough budget to cover this expense, we’ve outlined the steps in the cleaning process.
Why is smoke so hard to remove?
Smoke contains a bunch of tiny (and smelly) particles that settle on any and all surfaces. The smoke particles get into the smallest cracks and places you can’t even see. If you’ve been in a car or the home of a smoker, then you understand how smoke can linger. Think of how clothes can trap cigarette smoke, sometimes even after the item has been washed! You can think of a house fire as an exponentially larger form of that same smokey smell.
A fire is one of the worst disasters that can happen to a home, which is why fire insurance is a really important part of your home insurance policy. Fire damage restoration is a long process, and part of that process is smoke damage cleanup. Along with containing tiny particles, smoke and soot is acidic, which means it can stick even more fiercely to surfaces, making it incredibly difficult to remove.
Step 1: Air Out Your Home
This is by far the easiest step in the process — so get out those fans and start pushing the smoke smell out of your windows! Think about how fresh air will flow through your home, and try to push fresh air in and smokey smelling air out.
Fresh air will help reduce the smoke smell in your home, but full fire restoration is a long process. The only way to remove smoke completely is by cleaning everything that has been affected by smoke.
Step 2: Clean Everything With Fabric
You can think of fabric like a smoke sponge — soaking up and trapping all that strong, nasty smoke smell. Clothing, drapes, pillows, blankets and all those other soft surfaces need to be washed and cleaned. Head over to the laundromat and take up the biggest washers and dryers, because this is a process! Bring a book or magazine, and be sure to follow the cleaning directions and take delicates to the dry cleaner.
Cleaning everything with fabric also means upholstered furniture. You don’t want to sit down on your sofa in your freshly washed jeans and stand up smelling like smoke. You can steam clean most upholstery, but be very careful, especially with delicate furniture. You can also try sprinkling baking soda on the furniture and vacuuming the surface.
Step 3: Clean the Carpets
If you have a group of people helping you, you can send a couple to do all the laundry while you rent some carpet cleaning machines and steam cleaners. Here at BroadShield Restoration in Boerne, we recommend sprinkling a ton of baking soda all over the carpet. Leave it on for at least an hour, even overnight. The baking soda absorbs the smell and you can then vacuum it up before shampooing or steam cleaning the carpet. Just make sure you have a vacuum with a HEPA filter, which filters the fine smoke particles — instead of blowing them right back into the room.
Step 4: Clean All Hard Surfaces
This is a huge category — it contains pretty much everything but what you’ve done already. Before you get overwhelmed, know that it is easier to clean hard surfaces than fabric or carpets and you see results much more quickly. So roll up your sleeves, get out the spray bottle, and lots and lots of rags or paper towels.
Start with appliances, windows, and table tops. Then move onto windows and blinds. Smoke residue sticks to places where air gets trapped, so blinds are a big culprit when it comes to holding onto that smoke smell. Make sure you wash all window screens as well. Our fire restoration experts suggest taking them out of the window and placing them in the tub and use dish soap to clean the fine mesh, then rinse thoroughly and let dry.
Wipe down all walls and ceilings, doors and doorframes, baseboards, cabinets, shelves, furniture, light fixtures and even the light switches. Smoke gets everywhere, and settles everywhere. If you’re exhausted by this point, it might be time to hire some professional cleaners. Or have a BroadShield Restoration construction expert come in and see what parts of your home can be repaired or replaced.
Step 5: Clean the HVAC system
The last thing you want is smoke sticking in your HVAC system and then being circulated through your home — especially after all the hard work you’ve put into cleaning. This is the time when you really do need to call in the pros. They’ll clean the vents, change filters, and do whatever else you need to for complete fire restoration.
Smoke damage removal is a long and hard process, and if you’ve done it all yourself you deserve the biggest congratulations possible. Most people quit after step one, but look at you, you’ve made it all the way to the end and even cleaned out that tricky HVAC system. Throw yourself a party. Or, better yet, have your friends throw you a party in your fresh, clean, like-new home, so you don’t have to do more work. We recommend baking some chocolate chip cookies and breathing in that sweet, chocolaty smell instead of the smoke stench you’ve been breathing for weeks. Go ahead, put your feet up, you earned it.
BroadShield Restoration Boerne
When natural disaster strikes, you don’t have to do it alone. You can trust our construction and insurance experts to return your home to what it was before — or better! We know that fire damage is devastating, and fire restoration is a long, complicated process. So let us help with the parts that are overwhelming or difficult for the average person.
Look to BroadShield restoration for help. Our construction experts will help bring your home back to what it was before, as quickly as possible. We know that home damage needs to be dealt with as quickly as possible, especially extensive damage from wind, water, and hail. San Antonio is a region that’s especially prone to damage, which is why we highly recommend all residents to invest in some form of disaster insurance. And if you ever have to file a claim, our team is here to help provide you with the detailed pricing and estimates you need to get the benefits you deserve. Keep our contact info close, and call us when disaster strikes — we’re here for you.