There is always a lot of work to be done after a fire incident at home. A thorough cleaning is necessary, and it is always a good idea to seek the services of professionals for fast and efficient results. Some of the things that you will have to deal with after the fire has ended is getting rid of soot and smoke odors from your home.
Unfortunately, this is not something you can easily accomplish with standard cleaning. If not treated properly, soot and smoke odors may linger for weeks or even months, denying you the chance to enjoy the comfortable use of your living spaces.
In this piece, we will explore some of the dangers of improper soot removal from your home, and why it is always a good idea to hire the right professionals to help you with after-fire cleaning in Montreal and soot removal.
What is soot?
Soot refers to the black residue that is usually left sitting on surfaces after a fire incident. The substance is normally the result of the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels.
When fuels such as wood, oil, and coal combust, the residual material composed mostly of carbon may sometimes travel through the hot air and then settle on surfaces around without burning out completely.
When house fires occur, soot is likely to be produced due to insufficient ventilation within the indoor environment, and once the fire is contained you will easily spot it in places such as the walls, roofs, and plumbing fixtures.
Due to its distinctive black color, it is easy to spot soot on surfaces. You will usually see it appearing as black residue mostly accumulated in fire-damaged areas.
Some parts, however, may be microscopic and thus invisible to the naked eye; this is the most dangerous type that requires professional cleaning services to remove.
In addition to using your eyes to identify soot, you can also detect its presence with your nose. It usually presents itself in the form of a smoky and ashy smell, causing a burning sensation in the nostrils.
Is Soot Harmful?
Soot is very harmful, and that is why you should never tolerate it in your home. Whenever there is a fire, both synthetic and natural materials usually get burnt down. As a result, the soot particles normally contain metals, chemicals, acids, and dust among other hazardous materials.
When soot settles after a fire, these toxic materials will also remain, and with every breath that you take, you will be introducing them into your respiratory system, hence, exposing you to a myriad of respiratory complications.
How exposure to soot happens
There are primarily two instances when you are likely to suffer the greatest exposure to soot and smoke. The first instance is when you are trying to put out the fire or when trying to salvage your belongings at the onset of the fire.
The second instance is when performing the restoration or after-fire damage cleanup. The common methods of exposure are ingestion, inhalation, and direct contact with your eyes and skin.
After soot enters your bloodstream, it has the potential of causing a myriad of health complications including shortness of breath, a heart attack, certain forms of cancer, asthma, bronchitis, a stroke, or even premature death.
If infants or small babies are exposed, there may be lifelong health impacts, including permanent damage to the respiratory system.
Consequently, dealing with soot after a fire is a serious matter that should be left to the professionals.
How to deal with soot after fires
While you wait to call for soot and odor removal experts, or if you so choose to deal with the soot by yourself, there are a few approaches you may consider-:
Remove the soot from fabrics
Your fabrics, such as curtains, blankets, and carpets may be exposed to soot during a fire. Start by shaking off the excess soot from the fabric.
While you shake, ensure that the blanket is positioned away from you so that the soot doesn’t make contact with your face or skin.
Once you have shaken off the soot, run the fabric under cold water. If the stain doesn’t come out after doing so, soak it overnight, then wash it the following day the way you would with a normal cloth.
Cleaning soot from your upholstery or carpet
If you end up with carpets and upholstery stained in soot, sprinkle baking powder on the soot stain and allow the baking powder to sit for about fifteen minutes.
After that, vacuum it up to remove both the baking powder and the soot.
Removing soot from walls and other hard surfaces
You will most likely notice soot on walls and windows after a fire at home. To clean such surfaces, make a solution of warm water and a tablespoon of sodium phosphate. Dip a large sponge into the solution and use it to scrub the soot off the walls.
Once you are done scrubbing, rinse the surface using a clean wet rag. If you don’t get the results you desire, feel free to repeat the process multiple times until you end up with a cleaner surface.
While cleaning soot from your indoor spaces, it is vital to take some safety precautions to keep you safe during the process.
This is because direct exposure to soot may be harmful to you. Be sure to put on a pair of gloves to protect your hands and a dust mask to protect your face.
Also, ensure that the room you are working in is well-ventilated to minimize your chances of breathing in the already contaminated air.
For quick, safe, and best results, however, consider calling the professionals at KBS Maintenance to help you with soot and odor removal after a fire.