Why You Should Never Clean Up Fire Damage Yourself

Thursday 15th December 2022

Joanna Grimbley-Smith

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cleaner removing paint from ceiling CONTENTS

A fire in the home is a devastating experience, no matter how small. You will, of course, want to get back to normal again as soon as possible. But although it is tempting to start cleaning the damage, only professional cleaners should attempt this.

Without the right training, equipment, and PPE, you are putting your health at risk and probably will not be able to clean it properly.

Here at ICE Cleaning, we can take care of the entire fire damage restoration process, from removing soot and ash, to neutralising lingering odours. We also provide smoke damage cleaning services. Our technicians are available 365 days a year and can be on site in an hour in an emergency.

In this blog, we will go through why cleaning up after a fire should always be left to the experts.

The affected area must be cleaned thoroughly

A fire damaged property is a very dangerous environment. The soot left behind, for example, will be full of toxins, like ammonia, tar, and asbestos which you could inhale without knowing it. It can trigger respiratory problems, and even put you at risk of developing cancer.

Every trace of it must be removed to make your home safe again. Otherwise, these particles might stay in your home for years.

You could make the damage worse

Smoke residue can’t just be wiped away. A fire creates lots of different forms of smoke and soot which can be dry or wet, visible or invisible. It sticks to surfaces in different ways.

Only experienced professional cleaners that know how to clean smoke damage should attempt to remove stains. Rubbing marks with household cleaning products, for example, can ground the soot stain deeper into the material and make it tougher to remove.

Soot and ash are also acidic, and could corrode certain surfaces. Fail to remove them properly, and they might do more damage to your property.

You probably will not tackle all affected areas

Smoke damage is often much greater than you would expect. Professional cleaners will have the experience to seek out all potentially contaminated nooks and crannies, and ensure all damage is removed. If you don’t remove it, you could be putting your health in danger.

  • Food will need to be thrown out as smoke can penetrate packaging and heat might trigger bacteria growth.
  • Both the fridge and freezer must be inspected to ensure you can store food safely in them again.
  • Cupboards and drawers should be cleaned to get rid of all the smoke.
  • Clothing easily picks up the smoke odour and must be professionally cleaned to get rid of the smell.
  • Hot air rises, so you should have your loft checked for smoke damage.
  • Smoke will enter ducts and vents, and can be released back into the air when the HVAC is next used.

Odour removal is impossible without the right equipment

The heat generated by a fire causes the pores in the walls to open which fill with smoke. When it is put out and the area cools down, the pores close. On a hot day, they reopen and the smoke is released, recontaminating the house.

Professionals can effectively treat stubborn odours and remove smoke. Then, they should deep clean your home. You can find out more about odour removal after a fire in this blog.

Another reason why the smell lingers in properties is because soot and smoke particles get embedded in surfaces, like upholstery. Home remedies will not remove the scent, but mask it. Cleaners have the equipment to get rid of all the particles and tackle the cause of the smell.

Mould remediation requires specialist experience

When water is used to put out fires, it can introduce excess moisture into the property and cause mould outbreaks. You should never attempt to remove this mould yourself, as exposure might put your health in danger. Scrubbing it will also cause the spores to enter the air and spread.

Our Dewpoint accredited technicians offer mould remediation alongside our fire restoration services and can tackle any of the problems house fires surface.

What you should do instead of cleaning up

Firstly, you must contact professional cleaners right away so they can quickly assess the damage and begin the cleaning process. Then, you should ventilate the property to remove as much of the excess gas, smoke, and heat the fire has produced.

Make sure you don’t turn on your electricity, gas, or water supply until they have been confirmed as safe to use. Take prescription medication to the chemist for disposal, and throw out any medicines, food, and drink exposed to heat or smoke. You can find out more about what to do after a fire here.

Get in touch

Our technicians have plenty of experience restoring fire and smoke damaged properties. They can get rid of all remaining ash and soot, and take care of waste collection, too.

Get in touch on 0208 066 0360 or at enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk to find out more about our fire damage cleaning service. 

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