You can take certain steps to clean smoke damage on your own, but it’s best not to attempt significant repairs before a professional can assess the situation. If the structure has been severely damaged by smoke, it may require partial building reconstruction and special cleaning agents.
Smoke damages both porous and non-porous materials. It causes discoloration and acrid films that are typically accompanied by a smoky odor. It also carries embedded toxins like ash, burned wood, and melted plastics that can trigger health issues in people with respiratory conditions such as asthma.
When a property is extensively damaged by smoke, it’s essential to ventilate the area as much as possible to limit the spread of soot and other contaminants. Open windows and turn on fans to help the air circulate throughout the home. This helps to speed up the drying process and will help minimize the amount of soot that needs to be vacuumed later.
Begin by removing as much of the soot as you can with a dry sponge. It’s important to use a sponge meant specifically for soot removal to prevent staining the wall. Gently rub at the affected areas, being careful not to touch the same area for more than a few strokes. Keep swapping out the sponge for a fresh one until it doesn’t seem to be picking up any more soot.
Once you’ve removed the bulk of the soot, switch to a wet sponge or rag and some type of cleaning solution (commercial soot cleaner is ideal, but white vinegar in warm water will work just as well). Be sure to test any cleaning products on a small hidden area of the wall first before proceeding. smoke damage cleaning