General Cleaning / Salvage
If insured, contact your insurance company. If not, here are some hints you might want to consider:
- Vacuum all surfaces
- Change and clean air conditioner/heater filters
- Seal off the room in which you are working with plastic wrap to keep soot from moving from one location to another. Try to keep windows closed.
- Painted walls – to remove soot and smoke from walls, mix together 4 to 6 tablespoons trisodium phosphate (can be purchased in paint/hardware stores) and 1 gallon of water. Suggest you use rubber gloves and goggles while working with this solution.
Warning - keep mixture away from children and pets.
Wash a small area at a time working from the floor up. Do ceilings last. Rinse thoroughly; do not repaint until completely dry. It is advised to use a smoke sealer (available in paint stores) before painting.
- Wallpapered walls - Usually wallpaper cannot be restored. Check with your wallpaper dealer.
- Furniture - Do not use chemicals on furniture. A very inexpensive product called FLAX SOAP (readily available in hardware and paint stores) is most efficient product to use on wood, including kitchen cabinets. Do not dry furniture in the sun as the wood will warp and twist out of shape.
- Floors - Use FLAX SOAP on wood and linoleum floors. It will take 4 or 5 applications. Then strip and re-wax.
- Carpeting - Steam clean, shampoo and repeat steam cleaning.
- Mattresses - Reconditioning an inner spring mattress at home is very difficult if not impossible. Your mattress can probably be renovated by a company that builds or repairs mattresses. If you must use your mattress temporarily, put it in the sun to dry - then cover it with plastic sheeting. It is almost impossible to get smoke odor out of pillows. Feathers and foam retain odors.
- Locks and Hinges - Locks (especially iron locks) should be taken apart, wiped with kerosene and oiled. If locks cannot be removed, squirt machine oil through a bolt or keyhole and work the knob to distribute the oil. Hinges should also be thoroughly cleaned and oiled.
Warning - Do NOT use gasoline for cleaning.
- Mildew - To remove mildew, wash the stain with soap and water. Rinse well and dry, if the stain remains, use lemon juice and salt, or a solution of household chlorine bleach and warm water.
- Clothes - To remove smoke odor or soot from clothes that can be bleached, add 1/2 cup of ammonia to 2 gallons of water; then rinse with vinegar (use rubber gloves). Should you have any questions about the cleaning or preparation of clothing, it is wise to contact a cleaning service. Take wool, silk, or rayon garments to a dry cleaner as soon as possible.
Warning – Do NOT mix ammonia with bleach.
- Electrical appliances - Do not run wet or damaged appliances until you have had a service person check them.
- Cooking utensils - Your pots, pans, flatware, etc., should be washed with soapy water, rinsed and then polished with fine-powdered cleaner. You can polish copper and brass with special polish, salt sprinkled on a piece of lemon, or salt on a cloth saturated in vinegar.