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A house fire is one of the most devastating things that can happen to anyone. Once the flames have died down and you’ve begun the recovery process, there’s very little you’d rather do than resume your ordinary home life. But regrettably, the damage from a fire can be long-lasting. You might not have lost the floor of your home, but enough smoke and soot can be left behind after a fire to keep your home unlivable.

First, make sure you have permission to re-enter your home. Then, contact your insurance company. They can give you advice-and maybe able to assist you financially-on the restoration or replacement of anything that was damaged in the fire. They can also recommend professional fire restorers that they’ve worked with in the past

Should You Hire a Professional?

Hiring a professional fire restorer can be very helpful. They can give you advice on how to prevent any further damage, help you decide what can or cannot be restored, and they can give you estimates on cleaning and deodorizing your home. It may be much less expensive to have things like carpets, floors, and furniture restored as opposed to having them replaced.

Preventing Further Smoke Damage

The first thing you need to do is get the air in your home circulating and moving out. Open your windows, and install fans for extra power. If you live in a hot climate and there has been any moisture damage, you may need to keep the windows closed and use a dehumidifier to remove the moisture from the air in your home. In colder climates, run your heating system and change the filter daily until it stops showing any soot.

All parts of your home that is wet needs to be dried as quickly as possible. Letting any moisture stay in your home can lead to the growth of mold or mildew, and your flooring could be damaged beyond repair. Use a dehumidifier and fans to remove any moisture from draperies and floors. If possible, you may want to contact a professional to assist with this.

Removing Smoke Odor

Products that contain tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) are excellent for removing smoke odors from fabrics. However, TSPs are caustic-which means that they can burn organic tissue (the stuff you’re made of)-so be sure to handle these products with care and use rubber gloves at all times. Test your garments before you apply any chemicals. Professional smoke damage service is recommended, and you should keep in mind that most household cleaners that specialize in smoke odor removal only work in the short term.

Removing Soot from Walls and Other Surfaces

To remove the soot from your walls, try using a mild soap first. Mix 4-6 tbsp TSP with 1 cup of a household cleaner per ever gallon of warm water. Wear gloves at all times during this process. After wiping soot away, very quickly rinse the area with warm, clean water and dry it thoroughly and immediately. When you’re washing your walls, washing them one small section at a time, rinsing and drying as you work. Start at the floors and work your way up to prevent any streaking. Wash your ceiling last. If you have washable wallpaper, it can be washed just like a painted wall, but be careful not to let any water soak through. And if you need any drywall repairs, contact a professional insurance restoration specialist for assistance.