One of the most challenging cleaning tasks in a house is cleaning after smoke damage. Whether it is accumulated smoke or soot from candles or a result of a kitchen fire, smoke damage manages to stick to kitchen surfaces like counters, walls, and even ceilings. It is very difficult to remove. If you do manage to remove some of the visible soot stains, there remains a lingering and distinct odor of something just got burned. This could be very irritating to breathe.
Nevertheless, there are practical home remedies that can be used to repair smoke damage and remove the irritating odor associated with smoke.
During smoke damage restoration, homeowners should maintain good air circulation in the kitchen. Turn on exhaust fans, open doors, and windows. If the smoke damage is considerable and would need professional repair, you may need to get in touch with your insurance carrier (like First for Women Home and Contents Insurance) and inquire about filing a claim or contact a professional fire and water restoration company.
Make a preliminary assessment on the surfaces to be cleaned. If it has a stain or semi-gloss paint cover, there is a chance that it can be cleaned, washed, and restored easily. Walls painted with flat paint may be difficult to clean completely. In such cases, you should clean as much soot and residue as possible from the surface and then repaint. Wallpaper may have to be replaced.
Small fires in the kitchen may result in serious damage that can lead to costly repairs. Although some remedial work can be done on your own, it is still a wise move to seek the advice of experts regarding your problem. I also suggest a home warranty before it ever becomes a cost, from companies such as Choice Home Warranty.
Ways to Clean Smoke Damage
The following are ways to clean smoke damage off kitchen surfaces.
* Clear the area to be cleaned from appliances and other items. Open food that was exposed to soot should be disposed. Clean other items affected with soot.
* One of the most effective chemicals for use with smoke damage is trisodium phosphate or more commonly known as TSP. Dissolve one tablespoonful of TSP in one gallon of warm water. TSP can be harsh and irritating to the skin so wear protective rubber gloves when handling this material.
* Using a large sponge, proceed with cleaning affected areas using the TSP solution. Do this in sections and repeat areas as necessary.
* Avoid getting too much water on walls. You might end up with water damage to your drywall. Avoid getting water run down between baseboard and the inner wall, as this could be a source of mold infestation.
* When using TSP on painted walls, check first for dulling. Use an alternative cleaner if this occurs. Some painted surfaces may not be completely cleaned of smoke and soot residues. These surfaces need to be refinished by applying primer and paint.
* If you find TSP too harsh, there are available cleaners, which you can use. Other alternative homemade cleaners, which can be used to clean smoke residues, include a water-vinegar mixture.
Ways to Remove the Smoke Odor
Smoke damage restoration will not be complete if the permeating smoke odor is not eliminated. The following are some tips on how to eliminate this irritating odor.
* Use a disinfectant or cleaner with an orange smell. Wipe down all surfaces from walls, countertops, sinks, cabinets, drawers, windows, and even switch plate covers. Invisible odor can attach to these surfaces.
* An alternative cleaner is to use deodorizers used in carpets and heavy fabrics.
* While cleaning surfaces, it would be good to put small bowls of vinegar in various locations to help absorb the smell. Apply the water-vinegar mixture on persistent surfaces that give off distinct smoke smells even after wiping with cleaners.
* In severe cases where the smoke smell is very difficult to eliminate, you may need to bring in an ozone generator. This device can generate activated oxygen ozone gas, which is effective in removing various odors from the environment.
More about smoke damage cleanup. Jonathan Meyer is an editorial staff member of RestorationSOS.com, a leading restoration services provider for water removal and fire damage. To learn more about water damage, visit http://www.restorationsos.com/ or call 1-877-767-2407.