house fire and soot

How to Safely Get Rid of Fire Soot: Essential Tips and Techniques

House fires are actually more common than people realize. According to the Center for Disease Control, the U.S. Fire Administration and the National Fire Protection Association, there’s an average of 358,300 home-based fires each year. Fire departments and fire services respond to fires every 24 seconds in the U.S. And sadly, one person dies from a fire-related death every 144 minutes.

The most common causes of house fires are cooking, electrical problems and faulty heating equipment. This is why it’s important to take extra care when cooking, as it can take just seconds for a small flame to turn into a major fire. Plus, the damage of a fire extends beyond the flames themselves. Fires leave behind soot and smoke, which can also cause extensive damage. 

What is Fire Soot? Is Soot Exposure Dangerous? 

Believe it or not, soot and smoke are the biggest dangers of a house fire. Once the fire is out, you need to deal with the soot right away, otherwise it can cause health and structural problems. Not to mention, soot can extend far into your home and corrode everything it touches. 

Soot consists of tiny carbon particles created by fossil fuels like wood, oil and coal. When there’s a fire, soot spreads throughout the home and attaches to surfaces. Soot can also affect indoor air quality because the toxic particles (metals, soils, acids, chemicals) can cause breathing issues, coronary heart disease and even cancer. 

It’s incredibly important that all soot is removed from the home during fire cleanup and restoration. Even if the fire was small, you still need a comprehensive cleaning, as it can infiltrate your HVAC system. 

How is Soot Removed from the Home? 

Removing soot is not a DIY job. It requires extensive knowledge and expertise, plus the proper tools and equipment. Here are the steps that a professional will follow when cleaning soot after a house fire: 

  • Dry cleaning. A vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter will gently remove loose soot particles from walls, ceilings, furniture and more. 
  • Wet cleaning. For soot stains that remain after dry cleaning, wet cleaning methods can be used. This includes gently scrubbing stains with a mild detergent or dish soap and warm water.
  • Fabrics and textiles. Soot can easily penetrate fabrics and upholstery, so it’s important to clean these items via the washing machine, a dry cleaning service or vacuuming.
  • HVAC system and air ducts. Since fire soot can infiltrate HVAC systems and air ducts, these contaminants can be spread throughout the home. It’s recommended to have your system inspected, cleaned and sanitized. 
  • Personal belongings. Don’t forget about your personal belongings – electronics, clothing, accessories, etc. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for washing these items. 

Fire Restoration Services in Harlingen TX

It’s best to seek professional guidance when it comes to cleaning soot. Fire damage restoration companies have the knowledge and expertise to handle soot removal and ensure your home is completely safe. You will not get this peace of mind any other way! 

To schedule an appointment for fire cleaning and restoration, contact Texas Elite Restoration and Cleaning today. We look forward to helping you get your home back to its pre-fire condition and ensuring your health and safety are protected.