Fire is one of the most devastating forces that can impact a home. In addition to causing structural problems, fire also creates smoke damage and soot, which can be challenging to clean up.
If you’ve had a fire in your home or commercial building such as a hotel, professional fire damage restoration services are essential. If you’re anxious to start the cleanup process before the pros arrive, though, here are some fire damage cleanup tips you can DIY in your home.
5 DIY Fire Damage Restoration Cleanup Tips
After a house fire, it’s critical to ensure the structural safety of the home before you set foot inside. Once you’ve verified that, follow these simple restoration tips to start preparing the area for your cleanup company.
1. Ventilate the Space
Even after firefighters extinguish the blaze, smoke and fumes remain a considerable threat to your home. With this in mind, open the home’s windows and doors to ventilate the area as much as possible.
If you can position some industrial fans to move air, that’s a great option, as well. Just be sure to run the power cords to a neighbor’s home, instead of plugging them into your home’s outlets.
2. Cover Pieces of Furniture With Plastic
Cover any clean, unaffected pieces of furniture with plastic. This preserves their integrity and helps ensure they remain undamaged during the cleanup and restoration process.
3. Do not try to Clean on Your Own
Make no mistake: the after-effects of fire can be toxic. Specifically, the soot and smoke in your carpets and furniture can be dangerous. These things present a considerable health risk and are known carcinogens.
With this in mind, leave all deep-cleaning to the fire restoration company, who will have the equipment needed to protect them from harmful substances.
4. Don’t Plug in Electronics
Until you’ve had an electrician inspect your home’s electrical system, don’t plug anything into your outlets. This may be dangerous and could present yet another fire risk.
5. Throw out Contaminated Items
Food products that may be contaminated should be thrown out. The National Ag Safety Database (NASD) recommends discarding anything that has come into contact with smoke, water, or chemicals used in firefighting, including the following:
- Fresh produce, poultry, fish, eggs, and meat.
- Opened containers and packages.
- Containers that are cork-lined, or have waxed cardboard seals, as well as containers with peel-off tops.
- Any food in paper, foil, plastic, cellophane, cloth, or cardboard boxes.
- Spices, seasonings, extracts, sugar, flour, and any other staples you keep in canisters.
While this approach may seem extreme, NASD stresses the importance of using caution, even when it comes to canned foods:
“Food in cans or jars may appear to be okay. But if it has been close to the heat of the fire, it may no longer be edible. The heat from the fire can activate food spoilage bacteria or cause undesirable flavor changes. Toxic fumes can contaminate food items as well. Items stored in permeable packaging should be thrown away. If you detect an off-flavor or smell in refrigerated foods, dispose of them as well. Your family’s health is not worth the risk.”
Dos and Don’ts for After the Fire
Follow these dos and don’ts to limit damage to your home:
- Limit traffic and movement in the house to prevent soot from becoming further embedded in the home’s textiles.
- Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching any unsoiled surfaces in the home.
- Put down floor runners or old linens to protect rugs, carpets, and other upholstered traffic areas.
- If the electricity has been shut off to the home, empty the refrigerator and freezer and open the doors to prevent spoilage and smells.
- Protect chrome surfaces from tarnishing by applying a light coating of petroleum jelly.
- Rinse houseplants with fresh water to remove smoke and silt from the leaves.
- Change your home’s HVAC filter.
- Tape two layers of cheesecloth over your home’s air registers.
- Don’t attempt to wash walls, painted surfaces, or textiles on your own – contact a local fire damage cleanup company to help you.
- Don’t clean electrical appliances that were close to or affected by the fire. Have an electrician or fire remediation company evaluate these items for you, first.
- Don’t consume fresh, canned, or packaged foods or beverages that were in the home during the fire.
- Don’t turn on ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet, as the wiring may be compromised.
Dealing with Fire Damage in Chicago? We Can Help
Experiencing a house fire is a traumatic experience, and our team wants to make the recovery process easy for you and your family.
Here at ServiceMaster of Lake Shore, we specialize in providing Chicago, IL and the suburbs with the best disaster restoration services, including water, smoke, and fire damage restoration.
Our goal is to help you reclaim your Chicago home and get back to your daily life.
Give our team a call for 24 hour emergency help with fire damage: (312) 707-8597