Protect yourself with the proper attire for post-fire cleanup. You'll need long gloves, a mask, goggles, and protective clothing as well. Even if the fire is long gone, the dust and fumes in the air still aren't good for you and you should not expose your mouth, eyes or skin to them. Also, TSP and other harsh cleaners are abrasive and harmful to the skin.
Prepare Cleaning Supplies
Before starting, decide what you're going to use to clean and how much of it you'll need. Depending on the degree of damage you may want gentler or harsher cleaners. The best thing for smoke damage at home is Trisodium Phosate Cleaner, or TSP. Also have buckets, sponges, rags and warm water on hand.
Smoke damage gets everywhere, and cleaning it up can be a bigger task than you expect. The walls, ceiling, floor and furniture all need to be cleaned regardless of whether or not they look dirty. So call friends, family members, and neighbors to grab a sponge and go to work! The more hands you get, the smaller the task will seem. If you do not have people nearby who can help, then you might want to consider hiring a professional.
Before using any cleaner, go over the area with a gentle cleanser and cloth first. This will remove anything on the top and prep the area for serious cleaning. After this is done, go over with a dry cloth and let sit for a while with the fan on.
Heavy Duty Cleaning
Follow the directions on the cleaner bottle and mix with the appropriate amount of warm water. Then take a scrubby sponge and go over small sections one at a time. You don't want to go over any spots too much or one time too harshly, so be accurate in your coverage.
Once you've done a small section with the TSP or other cleaner, go over that same section with a clean rag and clean water to rinse away the cleaner. Don't let any cleaner sit on your walls for too long or discoloration and damage could occur.
Wallpaper and Paint
If wallpaper is bubbled or paint is peeling, repairs may be possible. However, certain amounts of damage aren't worth the trouble. Either way, the walls still need to be cleaned. If your walls are beyond repair, you'll probably need to clean, prime, and re-paint. This could end up being the easiest route no matter how damaged your walls are.
By: David Beavers
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