Structure fires can create various kinds of damage.  Fire damage resulting from the charring of the structure and contents, smoke odors and deposits of soot and ash all require expertise and training to remove.  Improper handling of items stained by soot or ash can cause further, unnecessary damage to your possessions. Depending on the extent of the fire damage to your home you may need to contact a certified restorer. Yet, there are several things to know about leftover soot and ash and how you can clean some of the carpets and textiles that have been affected.

What’s left in the home after a fire

Soot and ash are composed of the solid particles that were carried throughout your home in smoke.  Soot is mostly composed of carbon, but many other substances may be deposited on the surfaces of your home after a fire.  These particles may react with or stain the surfaces of your home and belongings.  Particles of tar, plastics, greasy and even metals may be present.  The nature of the soot or ash is determined by the materials burned and by the heat and humidity levels of the fire.  For example, a wood fire will produce a gray or black, powdery ash.  This is relatively easy to clean up.  But, a fire that burns grease or synthetic material leaves a sticky or smudgy residue that requires special chemicals to remove.

Cleaning carpets and other textiles that have smoke and fire damage

Textiles such as rugs, carpets, upholstery and draperies require special care after a fire.  Touching, sweeping or brushing textiles that are covered in soot may ruin the fibers of the textile by grinding soot particles into the fibers.  It is usually best to use a vacuum held above the surface of the textile (without touching the surface) to remove this residue.  Ordinary household vacuum filters should never be used because they will release soot and ash back into the air, where they will redeposit in your home.  Fire restoration experts us HEPA vacuums to remove these residues.  These special filters do not release ash or soot particles back into the air,  but rather trap them in the vacuum bag. Look for HEPA rated vacuum bags that will work with your vacuum cleaner.  Knowing how to properly remove soot and ash requires training and experience. Don’t risk causing needless additional damage after a fire, Northern Arizona Restoration is a certified restorer who works directly with your insurance company. We can be immediately on the scene to assess your fire damage and establish a plan of action to get your life back on track. Give us a call or contact us about damage due to fire in your home, building or other structure. We’re glad to answer your questions.