Home fires can be devastating, and once the initial shock and subsequent relief of surviving has worn off, you’re often left with a huge mess to clean up.
The effects of fire damage can be emotionally traumatizing to deal with, which is why it’s always helpful to hire professionals to assist you during this trying process. However, there are some things you can do to help speed up the process and save some of your personal possessions.
The most important thing to remember when reentering your home aftermath is that just because it looks safe, doesn’t mean that it is. There can still be dangerous soot in the air as well as lingering smoke and water damage from the rescue.
Make sure you have the permission of the authorities that your home is safe enough to enter, and it’s best to choose only one or two people to go in at first.
Depending on the severity, you will probably first notice everything covered in ashes and soot. This can be dusted off of surfaces and vacuumed off of furniture and carpets.
It will be much easier to work inside your home if the majority of soot is removed first before you begin sorting through your belongings. If some areas have little or none, make sure that you don’t track in soot. Either avoid these rooms or place protection on the floor.
It can affect many different surfaces and cause permanent harm if not taken care of quickly. Chrome and other metals will need to be cleaned or else they can tarnish. Similarly, porcelain, which many toilets, tubs, and some tiles are made of, can become discolored and start to yellow.
Upholstery that has deeply imbedded soot should be sent to professional cleaners to ensure they get deep into the fabric to lift up any residual stains.
Most food should be thrown out, even if sealed or kept inside of the fridge. Even if the kitchen was not affected by it, smoke may have gotten into some of the food and spoiled it (or at least make it taste unappetizing). It is often easier to just toss it all out rather than sift through it looking for something that is salvageable.
Clothing and rugs, like upholstery, should be sent to professional cleaners with specific instructions to treat for fire damage. It isn’t wise to attempt to clean these on your own, as you can spread the soot and make the problem worse or even impossible to reverse.
A professional fabric cleaner has the greatest chance of reviving some items from fire damage. Likewise, don’t touch any electrical appliances that have fire damage or that are in the near area. They may have been affected and could potentially spark another one. They also may have been affected by water if professionals were called to the scene.
When dealing with this kind of issue you will want experts to handle a big chunk of them. They can safely help you sort through your home and restore it back to a livable state. Only do what you absolutely must, such as sending clothes off to the cleaner, wiping off soot, and gathering items of sentimental value.