Many times, there can be soot damage without any structural fire damage. This can be caused from melted plastic or food left in a skillet that only burns the contents of the skillet. No matter the cause, the cleaning method for cleaning soot damage is for the most part the same.
At Branch, when it comes to cleaning soot damage our protocol is to first determine the extent of the soot particles. We do this by a simple “white glove” test. However, if we should have reason, such as a customer with super-sensitivity, we can perform air or air surface testing and perform a laboratory analysis to ensure that we locate even the finest of particles.
Cleaning soot damage begins with setting up containment by establishing negative pressure throughout the damaged area and sealing off all areas that are not damaged. This containment system stays in place throughout the project or until its existence is unnecessary.
The next step, depending upon the severity of the soot, is to detach all light fixtures and move all appliances, furniture and other belongings to a “clean area” so that proper and thorough cleaning can be achieved. We then vacuum, beginning with the ceilings, moving laterally. Next are the walls, and door and window casings. We repeat this method until we reach the floor.
For the finished surfaces in the structure, such as ceilings, walls, doors, etc, we begin “wipe down”. Dependent upon the degree of the soot or smoke, we will likely use a chemical sponge.
Depending upon the condition of the surfaces and components after, further steps may be necessary to get things back like they need to be. The need to paint, seal, and refinish or replace could still be necessary; this can be determined area by area and component by component.
Have you ever had soot in your house and made it worse by improper cleaning techniques? We hope this post helps. If you need more assistance, we invite you to learn more about our smoke restoration services.