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How to Clean Up after a House Fire

Clean Up after a House Fire


Dealing with a house fire cleanup is physically and emotionally draining. Not only can it be frustrating, but it can also be confusing as you figure out what to do and which services are available to help you clean your home and salvage some of your valuables. House fires can spread quickly, leaving behind a path of devastation. Aside from dealing with burned and damaged items, you will also have to deal with damage caused by water, smoke, and ash. Your walls may be affected and need to be cut out and replaced, while carpets, flooring, cabinetry, furniture, and appliances may need to be dried out, removed, or repaired before you can get your home back to normal.

If you find yourself in this unfortunate scenario, don’t panic. Here’s how to clean your house after a house fire and what to keep vs. throw away after a house fire.

Precautions to Take before Entering a House after a Fire

It’s obvious that in the event of a house fire, you should call the fire department to extinguish the flames. However, knowing what to do after this point may leave you feeling confused and lost. Here are some precautions to take before entering a house after a fire.

Once the flames have been put out, your family’s safety is your number one priority. If the damage was extensive, a building inspector will likely post a colour coded sign on your home. You must fully understand the sign and receive instructions from officials before you can enter your home. Even if the fire damage was minimal, there may be toxins floating around your home that need to be cleaned and disinfected. Your home needs to be in a safe condition before you can step foot back inside. The safest thing for you to do is to stay at a loved one’s place until your home is completely cleaned and inspected. You should also avoid entering your home unless the authorities have given you approval.

Another area to consider after a home fire is what your insurance company can do for you. They may require that you create a list of every item that was damaged in the fire and provide their approximate value. Your insurance company may want pictures of the damage before anything has been moved out, so after you call the fire department, you should also contact your local flood and fire damage restoration company. These professionals will clean out your home for you, take the required pictures, and make notes/records for you in case you need to show your insurance company.

Tips to Clean Up after a House Fire

Protect Yourself

If you will be part of the process for cleaning up after your house fire, you need to protect yourself from any toxins created by the flames. You should never work in a closed off area; instead, open all the windows and doors when working to distribute fresh air throughout your home. You should wear durable work gloves, proper eye protection, and a mask to protect yourself from any fumes and dust.

Trash Removal

When you’ve been cleared by fire officials and your insurance company to go back into your home for cleaning, you should begin with trash removal. If the environment is unsafe for you to work in, you should contact a professional flood and fire damage restoration company. They will help you clear out all the trash and remove any items that could attract mould growth. You may have to part with items such as curtains, clothing, and other wet fabrics, unless they can be salvaged by the company. They may be able to clean the items and disinfect them for you, but if they cannot be cleaned, the best thing is to throw them away.

Wipe off the Soot

Some items can be salvaged after a house fire. They may have a bit of soot residue from the fire, but you can spot clean the items using a specific cleaner. Dilute the cleaner with water and apply it to the items with a soft sponge. A trisodium phosphate cleaner can be used to clean your walls and other surfaces with soot residue. After you have cleaned the area, let it air dry. You should thoroughly wipe down your cabinetry, inside and out, to remove the odour. If you have any lingering smoke odours in your house, a professional flood and fire damage restoration company can help you.

Clean Walls and Ceilings

An important step after a fire in your home is to clean out the walls and ceiling. You need to be sure that the structure of your home is safe from future damage, such as mould growth. If there is minor dampness and soot residue on your ceiling and walls, you can simply clean these with a solution of hot water and bleach. This mixture can disinfect interior surfaces of your home and prevent any growth of mould and mildew. You should wash your ceilings last and completely air out the area, so that your ceilings can completely dry. A professional flood damage restoration company can do this inspection to ensure that the structural integrity of your home can be maintained and advise you if you need to repair and replace any parts of your walls or ceiling.

Hire a Pro like Flood Services Canada

The most important thing to keep in mind when choosing a fire and smoke damage cleaning company is to choose a company with experienced and trained professionals who you can trust. Flood Services Canada has been one of the most successful flood and fire damage restoration companies in the Greater Toronto Area for years, providing expert repair and restoration services in the event of flood, fire, smoke damage, and more. Contact us at (416) 302-2107 to learn more about how to protect your property or use our emergency hotline at (416)-999-3930 to get our rapid-response teams deployed to your area.

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Chad Vanvari

Chad Vanvari has over 20 years of experience as a cleaning & restoration professional. He started out in Montreal, establishing a commercial carpet cleaning company in the early 1990’s. By 2001, Chad had relocated to Toronto and now had extensive knowledge and experience in responding to fire/water related emergencies. He has been instrumental in the cleanup of several catastrophic floods. Currently, Chad is the president and owner of Flood Services Canada, a 24/7 emergency service restoration company.