A serious fire will leave black soot and a strong smell on all your home’s surfaces. With time, the smell will leave hard surfaces, but the softer ones like carpet, drapes and furniture cushions will soak that smell in. You’ve got to take special measures to get that smell out. Here are 5 tips that’ll make the cleaning process easier.
1. AIR IT OUT
The first logical thing that you’ll want to do is air out your entire house. Keep every door and window in the entire house open for a full day to let it completely ventilate and let as much fresh air in as possible. If you’ve got any fans in the house, ceiling or otherwise, set them up on full-blast facing out the doors. Getting as much of the smell out this way, before you get started with the real cleaning, will give you a leg up.
2. POSITIVE PRESSURE
The act of airing out your property is necessary but it’s not going to do all that much in the grand scheme of things. Air the house out until you can’t tell if it’s making any difference anymore. Then, you’re going to use a positive pressure method. Positive pressure is when the air pressure outside the home is greater than the air pressure inside the home, resulting in the air inside leaving for outside. Theoretically, this will do an even better job of getting the smell out than just opening the windows and letting it go. Here’s how you do it:
- Leave your front door open and stick a fan outside facing in.
- Shut every other window and door in the house, save for one that will act as a ventilator.
- Turn the fan on full-blast for 15 minutes and then close the open door and window.
- Then, go through every room of the house and follow this method. Open the door and one window, using the fan to blow air in the room for 15 minutes.
- When you’ve finished this, then you’re ready to start physically cleaning your whole home.
3. BAKING SODA
One popular (and natural) method for getting smoke out of carpets, drapes and furniture is by using baking soda. Start with the carpets. Sprinkle baking soda onto all of your dry carpets and work it in deep with a broom. Then, leave it overnight and vacuum the carpet the next day. The baking soda should neutralize some of the smell. You can repeat this as many times as necessary. Take any fabric-covered furniture outside and give it the same baking soda treatment, sprinkling it thoroughly over every bit of the fabric. Leave it all outside overnight and then vacuum it up the next day.
4. OTHER CLEANING METHODS
Toss everything else in the laundry machine. This includes drapes, sheets, blankets and clothing. Use your normal detergent, but before the rinse cycle starts, add a cup of vinegar to the load. Vinegar works well as a heavy-duty cleaner, so it should remove some of the smell that’s worked itself into the fabrics. The hard surfaces will be less affected by the smoke, but they’ll still need to be thoroughly cleaned as well. To give them the same heavy-duty treatment, you’ll have to create a solution that contains a gallon of water, a quarter-cup of white vinegar, and a teaspoon of dish soap. Put this solution in a spray bottle and spray every solid surface in the house with it. Cabinets, countertops, hardwood floors, etc. Give the solution some time to sit, then wipe the surfaces with a clean cloth. Anything that can be removed like light fixtures and window screens, take and put in a bathtub with some dish soap to soak for as long as you can manage.
5. CALL THE PROS
It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to completely eradicate the smoke smell from your home, even after a thorough cleaning with the previous methods. The best thing to do is call the professionals. They’ll have access to industrial cleaning equipment designed to give surfaces a deep and thorough cleaning. At Able Construction, we’re well-equipped to deal with the smoke smell in your home. We’ll come and assess the damage, then use our decontamination service to give your home a thorough clean.