Did you recently have a small fire in your home? Maybe it was a grease fire in the kitchen or a small electrical fire behind an outlet? Even a small fire can create a significant amount of smoke, and that smoke can do serious damage to your home. Once the fire is cleared and your house is safe, you'll need to survey the damage. You may find that smoke damage was left soot on your walls, ceilings, and floors, even in rooms where the fire wasn't located. The air also may be difficult or unhealthy to breathe. Here are a few steps to get your home back into livable condition:
Clear the air. Your first step should be to make the air in the home safe to breathe. Open up windows throughout your home to create a nice flow of outside air. Also, use as many fans as possible to increase air flow. Another good step is to change your air filter in your air conditioner and heating system. The filter can remove much of the soot from the air, but you need it to be clean to work properly. In fact, you may want to change the filter on a daily basis in the first few days after the fire.
Also, consider other ways you could ingest the soot that entered the air. For example, if you have medication in the home, it's very possible that soot got into the bottle. The same is true of food products. Soot can enter even the tiniest of openings. Replace any food, medications, and other items you may ingest.
Wash everything. The next step is to wash down everything, especially in the areas where the fire was located. You won't want to just use a regular household cleaner, though. Most household cleaners aren't strong enough to remove soot and other contaminants from your floors, counters, and drywall. Instead, look for a cleaner that contains TSP, which stands for Trisodium Phosphate. These cleaners are often used to remove mold and to clean exterior siding.
Start by wiping TSP across the surface of whatever you're cleaning. Then follow that up with warm water. Be careful not to apply too much water, as you could damage things like drywall or hardwood floors. Let the mixture dry and then repeat as many times as necessary. You may find that you need to prime and paint walls or seal floors after you clean them.
Get rid of the odor. Finally, even after all of your cleaning, you'll still probably have a pretty strong odor in your home. Unfortunately, traditional air fresheners usually aren't strong enough to kill lingering smoke odor. Instead, use something like baking powder. You can sprinkle it on floors and furniture and then vacuum it off. Or you can put it in a bowl and set it in the center of the room. Another effective option is to buy an ozone generator, which sucks in dirty air and replaces it with clean air. They're costly, but they'll do the job.
For more information or assistance, contact a fire damage restoration company (such as Flood Damage Restoration). They can clean your home for you and help you remove lingering smoke and fire damage.