Cleaning the fire damage/smoke damage ourselves?
The answer is yes and no. Although it may look easy to clean, many home owners and property managers have discovered the following issues which guide them to seek a professional (IICRC certified) fire damage restoration and fire damage restoration clean up companies including SI Restoration

1. When residues mix – One big challenge is when you have a fire, is dealing with damage that comes from more than one type of residue (see above smoke residue list) that burns. The understanding of how to clean these situations and the tools to use is not an easy task for the average home/property owner. You can attempt to clean, but buyers beware.

2. It looks clean, but it still smells like smoke – A great way to understand why it still smells after you cleaned is to understand the size of a smoke particle. The size of a smoke particle is .004 micros in size (yes you need a microscope to see it). Each particle causes a smell or odor. So imagine these small microscopic particles inside your walls, cabinets, behind wood trim, wall base, underneath the carpet, etc. As you can tell, even if you are the best cleaner there are so many places you can not get to or just miss.

Are all fire damages alike?

No, not all fire damages are alike. Each home and business contain different materials that burn and create their own cleaning and restoring challenges. Let’s go over the four main categories of  fire damage and smoke damage cleaning sources.

Natural substance smoke residue – Natural items that burn can be paper, wood, and other items containing those substances. The color of these residues are usually black and gray. These smoke residues can be cleaned using a vacuum and dry sponge. Reader be careful, because smoke particles can be the size of .004 microns. These particles are small enough to go anywhere in the dwelling, even inside wall cavities. It may not bother you if the smoke particles are in the wall cavities, but each particle causes a smoke odor. Not removing these particles can lead to unsolved odor issues. There are solutions to the smoke particle residue removal such as ozone and other processes which professional fire damage restoration contractors and fire damage restoration cleaning companies have.
Protein substance smoke residue - Chicken, beef, and other proteins when burned make a greasy mess all over. Cleaning these residues takes training and understanding of protein burn cleaning.
Synthetic substance smoke residue - To put in simply, any type of plastic or derivative of plastic when burned becomes very smeary to the touch. Again cleaning these types of fire damage residues are complicated and needs specialized training to do correctly.
Oil burner malfunction residue – Otherwise known as a “puff -back,” this residue is caused simply by a oil burner misfiring and then shooting burnt oil residue through the heating system, and then distributing the residue through

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