Fire damage can mean much more than structural damage to your home from heat and flames. There are several, less noticeable ways that fires can damage your belongings that may impact the health and safety of your family if not addressed and handled properly. The fire damage experts at Swift Restoration and Cleaning in Ogden, Utah would like to share a few tips that may answer some of your questions.
Fires can release hazardous toxins in the air as certain items burn, and these toxins can enter food stored in your home. Ingesting food that has been exposed to toxins may cause illness. Additionally, heat from the fire can damage canned goods, and they too could be potentially harmful. It’s best to throw out any food you think may have been impacted.
You’ll also want to thoroughly clean all dishes, including pots, pans, baking dishes, silverware and any utensils—essentially anything that will come into contact with your food. You’ll want to wash all dishes in hot water with soap, and then treat the dishes in a solution of two tablespoons bleach to one gallon of water.
Dishes that are plastic or wood will likely need to be thrown out, as the smoke will be absorbed by the material of the item. Additionally, any dishes with cracks should also be disposed of.
Smoke damage can affect areas of your home that are in an area unaffected by the actual fire. Bedding, clothing, draperies, rugs and carpeting will all absorb the smell of smoke and will need to be treated to be safely used.
Like dishes, clothing can also retain toxins that may be harmful, and clothing should not be worn until properly cleaned and disinfected. Many clothing items that have suffered smoke damage can be restored, depending on the material the items are made of. You may want to consider taking larger items to a commercial cleaner who has experience restoring items from smoke damage.
Most clothing that is bleachable can be treated at home with a bleach solution, but if possible a professional dry cleaner will be the most help and will be able to salvage more clothing items. You’ll also have the peace of mind that your clothing is safe to wear, and you can focus your time on other areas of fire damage cleanup that are necessary and more pressing.
For carpeting, furniture or rugs, a professional fire restoration expert should be consulted to remove smoke damage. If your carpeting and furniture also sustained water damage, the restoration expert will also be able to remove water and dry your carpets and furniture. Depending on the extent of the damage, and how long carpeting has been damp, it may be best to replace it rather than try to restore it.
In the area affected by a fire, there is likely soot buildup and smoke damage on the walls and ceiling, and in other areas of the home you may also have smoke damage. If you have significant soot damage, you should consult a professional fire damage and restoration expert before beginning any cleaning. Soot can be stubborn and is often greasy and difficult to remove once wet.
Soot is also hazardous to your health, and can cause respiratory problems for those exposed to it. Take extra precaution to ensure that you will not inhale soot if you attempt to clean it.
Areas of your home affected only by smoke damage can be cleaned with a bleach solution. All hard surfaces must be cleaned and disinfected. If you are repainting, make sure all surfaces are clean and dry before painting. Washable wallpapers can be cleaned, but absorbent surfaces will need to be removed and replaced.
While you may want to do the cleanup of your home yourself, there may be many things you are not considering that could impact your health and safety in your home. If you have any questions, consult a professional cleaning and restoration company.
Fire restoration is an extensive process that affects many areas of your home. You may want to work alongside a fire restoration specialist from Swift Restoration in Ogden, Utah. This will not only speed up the cleanup process, but will also release some of the burden from you. Call Swift Restoration and Cleaning if you experience a fire or smoke damage in your home or business. We will work directly with your insurance and help restore your home and life to pre-loss conditions.
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