Returning home to a house where a fire raged can bring up a lot of emotions. You might be relieved that you're able to enter the house again, but that relief can quickly turn to feeling overwhelmed when you see all the damage and wonder if things can be "normal" ever again in that space. Being able to begin the cleaning process can help you with some of those feelings. Use these directions to begin work inside your house.
Wear Gloves and Masks
Just because the fire has been handled doesn't mean that you don't need to protect yourself. If some surfaces are dry, particles can easily get into your nose and lungs. To prevent harmful particles from entering your system, you should wear a mask. Similarly, your fingers can become dirty and grimy from handling items, so ensure that you put rubber gloves on.
Get Tri-Sodium Phosphate
For some tasks, such as cleaning walls or wiping down counters, you'll need something beyond soap and water. Tri-Sodium Phosphate, often labeled in stores as TSP, is a compound that proves helpful on smoke stains. It can be caustic, however, so gloves are essential, and it's important to open windows so that the smell doesn't linger.
Use Vinegar for Clothing
Even if the clothing in the house wasn't directly affected by the fire, smoke may be all you can smell when you lift an item to your nose. Washing clothes may not seem to help at all, but with repeated washings the smell will start to fade. To help that occur faster, pour in a bit of vinegar into the washing machine along with regular laundry detergent.
Try Vinegar on Floors
The laundry isn't the only place vinegar can be helpful. If firefighters fought the fire inside your house, it's likely that you have to deal with something else you may not have considered: water damage. Water may be everywhere. Blotting down various surfaces is one idea, but be mindful of mold growth, particularly if you've been away from the place for some time.
Floors can be a hotbed for mold growth if water has been sitting there for a few days, especially if rugs and carpets are on top of them. Using vinegar in the steam cleaner as you steam rugs and carpets is a good idea, as vinegar has mold-fighting properties. You can also wipe down any linoleum or vinyl floor coverings with a sponge soaked with vinegar as well.
Avoid Testing Electronics
Because of all the water, you may think more than once about whether you want to try the television and other electronics. It might be better to have professionals assess their functionality.
Recovering from the kind of damage a fire can cause is sometimes exhausting. If you require help, a home disaster restoration business can come to the rescue.