How to Clean your Things of Smoke and Soot After A House Fire

A house fire is devastating for anyone who experiences it. Even a small fire can cause smoke damage to things throughout the house. Often you are left with the decision to toss items that you would prefer to keep. With diligence, many items can be saved with patience and hard work.

...
Clean your Things of Smoke

Step 1

Separate out all non porous objects, things made of finished wood, metal or glass. For example a dresser. In an empty spray bottle mix 1 1/2 times the amount of Mr. Clean with Febreaze and a 1/3 cup of vinegar. The vinegar helps to neutralize the smell while the Mr. Clean removes smoke and soot left by the house fire. Clean the dresser with this mixture using paper towels. Don't use rags because they will only be clean for the first swipe or two, then they just smear the soot. Clean every surface of the dresser, including inside drawers, and the bottom.

Step 2

Collect any clothing that is salvageable. Wash all of it at least twice. Some of the more smoke damaged clothes can take 4 or 5 washings to clean. When washing it add 1/2 a cup of vinegar to kill the smoke smell.

Step 3

The most difficult things to clean are large non-porous things like couches and mattresses. Start by taking a powerful vacuum cleaner and hover it over the surface, sucking up as much particulate soot from the house fire as possible. Let these air out outside for a week or two if possible. Use a carport or garage with the doors open for this, because they should not get wet. Rent or buy a steam cleaning carpet cleaner. Add a 1/2 cup of vinegar to each cup of cleaner solution used. Use this over all surfaces. You may need to do this twice.

Step 4

Electronics need to be cleaned of the smoke as soon as possible because it is corrosive to the metal. Open up the case on the electronics and blow out the soot with compressed air. A small vacuum could also be used to suck the soot out. Do not use any cleaners on electronics because you might cause a short out.

Step 5

Hire a company to clean with ozone treatments anything that you are unsuccessful at cleaning. The prices can add up but are usually substantially cheaper then replacing what ever was damaged in the house fire.