Tips & Tricks/10.06.22

Proper Cleaning After Fire and Smoke Damage

Choosing the right smoke damage cleaning process depends on the material composition, surface texture, the nature of residue and the severity of soot contamination.

No matter what your process, while cleaning be sure to use a HEPA air scrubber like the Dri-Eaz HEPA 700. It's been proven to remove 99.99% of .1-.5 micron particulates so that it clears the air of fine smoke and soot particles.

Traditionally, wet cleanable surfaces include most woodwork, doors and door frames, and semi-gloss and gloss painted surfaces. Note that acoustical textured ("popcorn" type) ceilings will deteriorate when cleaned with aggressive cleaning techniques like this process.

Use Unsmoke Degrease-All to remove smoke and soot residue from gloss and semi-gloss painted surfaces, and Unsmoke Wall Wash for cleaning flat or semi-gloss painted walls and trim.

Kitchens and bathrooms contain the most washable surfaces. Prior to cleaning smoke damaged surfaces, wrap, box, and pack out fragile items. Remove furniture, draperies, wall decorations and framed articles to prevent damage.

Regardless of which cleaning method is chosen, almost all cleaning should:

  1. Begin at the ceiling,
  2. Shift to the upper structural surfaces,
  3. Progress to middle and lower structural surfaces, and
  4. Finish on floor areas.

One exception to this “top to bottom” approach is walls. Usually, the best direction for washing painted walls by hand is to wash from bottom to top, followed by dry toweling to help avoid streaking.

Excerpted from Restoration Sciences Academy Complete Guide to Cleaning and Restoration, a compilation of all  RSA course materials, including water damage restoration, fire and smoke restoration, odor control, microbial remediation, trauma scene cleanup, upholstery and fabric cleaning, and carpet cleaning.

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