How Does Smoke Damage Affect Your Home's Contents?
Smoke damage can be a huge headache for homeowners. Not only does it affect the appearance of your home, but it can also damage your belongings.
In this guide, we will discuss how smoke damage affects your home’s contents and what you can do to protect them.
Just because your house doesn’t look or smell like smoke, doesn’t mean the damage hasn’t been done. In fact, smoke can penetrate deep into your belongings and cause long-term damage.
Porous hard surfaces or materials such as wood, drywall, and fabric are especially susceptible to smoke damage. The soot from the smoke residue will penetrate these materials and cause them to discolor, smell bad, and become a breeding ground for mold.
Common Items That Can Be Damaged by Smoke
Smoke damage can affect a variety of items in your home, and this damage can be both short and long-term. When smoke and soot enter your home, they can discolor surfaces and fabrics. Smoke also has a strong odor, which can be difficult to remove.
Smoke damage can start to occur within minutes of exposure. The first thing you will usually notice is a change in color on surfaces such as walls, ceilings, and floors. Here are some of the most common items that can be damaged by smoke:
Furniture & Appliances
These are some of the most common items to be damaged by smoke. The soot from the smoke can penetrate deep into the material, causing fabrics to discolor, metal to corrode, and wood to warp. In some cases, smoke damage may even be irreversible.. In addition to this, the smell of smoke will often linger on these items long after the fire is extinguished.
Carpeting can also suffer from soot and smoke damage. The fibers in the carpet will trap the soot and smoke particles, causing discoloration. This is especially apparent if they are not cleaned promptly.
Smoke can also damage your clothing. It will cause the fabric to become stained, stiff, and matted. The smell from the smoke will also linger in the clothes, and it can be particularly difficult to get rid off.
Smoke can cause a film to build up on electronic equipment, which can result in it not working properly or even burning out. It is important to have any electronics that have been exposed to smoke, cleaned and dried as soon as possible.
Plastics in your home can be warped and stained by smoke damage. In fact, regardless of whether or not the plastics were burned, they will likely need to be replaced if the staining is severe enough.
Porcelain is one of the most common materials used in households. It is also, however, one of the most sensitive to smoke damage. The high temperatures that are reached during a fire can cause the glaze on porcelain to break down. This will leave your porcelain with a dull, dingy appearance. Smoke particles can also penetrate the pores of the porcelain, which will leave your surfaces with a permanent film.
How to Clean Smoke Damage
Step #1: Remove soot from surfaces
Step #2: Clean walls and ceilings
The next step is to clean the walls and ceilings. You can do this with a mixture of water and dish soap. Be sure to scrub the entire surface and rinse with clean water.
Step #3: Deodorize all surfaces
The third step is to deodorize all of the surfaces in your home. There are a variety of ways to go about this, but it can be accomplished with something as simple as a mixture of water and vinegar. Be sure to test the mixture on a separate or inconspicuous spot before you start spraying it on all of your surfaces.
Step #4: Clean carpets and rugs
The fourth step is to clean the carpets and rugs in your home. You can do this with a vacuum cleaner, carpet shampooer, or steam cleaner. Be sure to get all of the soot and smoke out of the fibers. If your carpets or rugs are heavily damaged, you may need to replace them. Talk to a professional carpet installer about what your best options are.
Step #5: Clean furniture
The fifth step is to clean the furniture in your home. You can do this with a cloth, sponge, or vacuum cleaner. Make sure to get all of the soot and ashes off of the furniture. If there is any smoke damage, you can use a cleaning product that has bleach in it to clean the surfaces. Test this on an inconspicuous spot before using it on the entire piece of furniture.
Step #6: Clean windows and doors
The sixth step is to clean the windows and doors in your home. You can do this with a mixture of water and vinegar. Windows and door frames are often damaged in a fire. They can warp or even melt in extreme heat. Once you have cleaned the windows and doors, you can move on to step seven.
Step #7: Clean clothing
The seventh step is to clean the clothing in your home. You can do this by washing them in the washer and dryer, or taking them to a dry-cleaner. Smoke damage can cause your clothing to smell bad and it can also discolor them. Clothing that can’t be washed, like suits and dresses, should be dry-cleaned.
Step #8: Clean dishes
The eighth step is to clean the dishes in your home. You can do this by washing them in the dishwasher, or taking them to a dishwashing service. Dishes that have been exposed to smoke can be difficult to clean. Make sure that you are careful when cleaning them and do not use harsh chemicals, as these can damage the dishes and leave residual traces on the surfaces.
Step #9: Clean toys
The ninth step is to clean the toys in your home. You can do this by washing them with soap and water, or taking them to a toy-cleaning service. If the toys are made of plastic, you may be able to clean them with a vinegar solution. When cleaning your toys, it’s important to make sure that they are completely dry before putting them away. This will help prevent mold and mildew from growing on them.
Step #10: Clean Linens
The tenth step is to clean the linens in your home. You can do this by washing them in the washer and dryer, or taking them to a linen-cleaning service. Smoke can leave a residue on fabrics that can be difficult to remove. Make sure to clean all of your linens, including bedding, curtains, and tablecloths.
In summary, smoke damage can affect your home’s contents in many ways. The smoke can cause surfaces to become dull, spotted, and chipped. The odor from the smoke will also linger in the plastics, making it difficult to get rid of. If this is the case, it is best to have your plastics cleaned with a smoke odor eliminator.
Removing Smoke Odor from Your Home
The best way to remove the smoke odor from your home is to use a smoke odor eliminator. This will help to neutralize the smoke odor and make your home smell fresh and clean again.
Cleaning up the smoke damage in your home can be a daunting task, but it is important to do if you want to protect your belongings and keep your home looking its best.
How to Prevent Smoke Damage in Your Home
The best way to prevent smoke damage in your home is to have a working smoke alarm. This will help warn you of a fire in your home, and give you time to escape. You should also practice a house fire escape plan with your family so that everyone knows what to do in the event of a fire.
Smoke damage can be a serious problem, but it is important to take the necessary steps to clean up the damage and prevent it from happening again. By following these steps, you can keep your home and belongings in pristine condition.
How Does Smoke Affect the Brain?
Smoke inhalation can cause serious health problems, including brain damage. The chemicals in smoke can damage the cells in the brain and lead to problems with memory, concentration, and coordination.
Smoke inhalation can also cause a stroke or seizure. If you are exposed to smoke, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you know if you have smoke damage?
The best way to know if you have smoke damage is to look for the telltale signs. The smoke will cause surfaces to become dull, spotted, and chipped. The odor from the smoke can also linger in plastics, as well as various other materials in your home. Being familiar with these signs will help you identify if your home is a victim of smoke damage.
Can you clean smoke damage yourself?
Yes, you can clean up the smoke damage yourself by following these aforementioned steps. However, it is best to have a professional come in and clean the damage if it is extensive.
Does smoke inhalation cause cancer?
Smoke inhalation can cause many different types of cancer. If you or any of your loved ones are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in this guide, seek immediate medical attention.
What will happen if you incorrectly use the cleaning agents?
Wrong cleaning agent usage can sometimes make things worse, or even outright damage your furniture and belongings. If you are not sure which cleaning agent to use, it is best to consult a professional.
Do affected metal surfaces need to be replaced?
If the metal surfaces in your home are affected by smoke damage, you will need to have them replaced. The chemicals in the smoke can cause corrosion and rusting.