One of the most persistent reminders that a home was damaged in a fire is the odor. Textiles, in particular, retain the scent of smoke if not cleaned as soon as possible after the fire by a restoration contractor.
Smoke and Soot Damage
Even minor fires that don’t leave behind any major structural damage are accompanied by a pervasive smell of smoke and a dusting of residual soot. Water damage from the efforts of firefighters or burst pipes can cause further damage. Exposure to smoke, heat, water and soot not only lowers the value of any rare collectibles, but can leave a homeowner without a wardrobe, upholstered furniture, or undamaged carpets. Fortunately, if homeowners act quickly and retain the services of a fire and water restoration contractor, they may be able to save the majority of their textile-based belongings, including:
- Household fabric items
- Shoes and purses
- Quilts and tapestries
- Upholstered furniture
- Stuffed animals and toys
The Cleaning Process
Acting quickly is a necessity because acidic soot residue can begin discoloring plastics, bath fixtures, unprotected metals, countertops, and furniture almost immediately after the fire is put out. While these materials can be wiped down relatively quickly and so avoid permanent damage, fabrics are more difficult to clean. Even after a matter of days, clothing and furniture upholstery can become permanently stained.
Soap, water, and a sponge, as well as vacuuming and laundering, can go a long way towards removing discolorations and odors left by soot and smoke. However, there is only so much that a homeowner can do on his or her own. For instance, before textiles can be deodorized or cleaned, all soot must be removed with a heavy duty vacuum manufactured specifically for that purpose. Restoration contractors can then focus on removing the odor from the fabrics by using an ozone treatment, which breaks up the smoke molecules on the items.
After deodorizing household textiles, the items can be cleaned. Dry cleanable clothing and draperies should be taken to a professional dry cleaner. Some items, such as draperies and upholstered furniture will need to be cleaned in the home by a professional. Cleaning clothing is a bit easier and for the most part can be accomplished through several washings in warm water with a non-built liquid detergent or a low phosphate powder detergent and a liquid chlorine bleach. Some heavily damaged items will need to be washed as many as five times before the soot and smoke odor are removed.
Contact an Experienced Water and Fire Restoration Contractor
If you live in Oklahoma and your home or business was recently damaged in a fire, please contact Dason Fire & Water Restoration, Inc. by calling 918-379-0390 or by completing one of our online contact forms and we will help you schedule a consultation with an experienced restoration contractor who can address your questions or concerns. We recognize that natural disasters and fires can happen at any time and so have made ourselves available to you on a 24/7 basis.