Cleaning soot and smoke damage after a fire
A house fire is one of the worst things that can happen to your home. Even a small fire, spotted early and put out quickly, can cause damage to your carpets, curtains and soft furnishings. The effects of soot and smoke can linger for a long time and it’s often upholstered furniture, fitted carpets and other household fabrics that are trickiest to clean.
The first problem is soot, an oily substance that stains easily. Take the greatest of care when dealing with soot stains on your carpet. Never wipe soot affected areas as this will only drive the stain further into the carpet fibres, exacerbating the damage and potentially making it impossible to remove.
Removing soot stains from your carpet is a specialist job requiring high powered vacuum cleaning that’s designed to remove the substance. Your best bet is to call a professional cleaning company with the right equipment and experience to tackle the job.
If you want to have a go yourself, perhaps while you’re waiting for help to arrive, you need to use the nozzle of your vacuum cleaner and apply suction from directly above the soot stain. Don’t use any brush attachments or vacuum in the traditional way since the sideway action will rub the stain in further.
During a fire, the heat expands the pores of household items and surfaces including plasterwork, carpet fibres, upholstery fabrics and more. Once the fire is out, the pores contract again, trapping smoke odour. But that’s not the end of it. The problem comes when the temperature inside your home increases – for example when you turn the heating on or during the summer – as that is when unpleasant smoke odours are released.
Depending on the extent of the smoke damage, you may need to have your carpets, curtains and upholstery cleaned professionally, or you may have to redecorate completely for the effective long-term removal of smoke odours from your home.
Restoring your home to how it was before the fire is not a quick job; patience is key. Professional carpet cleaning is highly recommended as the best way to save your carpets, and upholstered chairs, armchairs and sofas will also need professional attention. Do bear in mind that it may well be necessary to have your carpets cleaned twice: once to remove soot and smoke odours immediately after the fire, and again after the decorators have finished.