Contact your insurance company. Your policy may cover house cleaning by a fire restoration specialist. As you go through your possessions, keep the ruined items for insurance purposes. Download our Fire Recovery Guide (PDF).
Smoke, Odours and Soot. Smoke odours can last a long time. You will probably need to clean everything in the house several times. Try placing small saucers of vinegar, vanilla or activated charcoal around the house to absorb odours.
Overall House Cleaning: Vacuum all surfaces with wet and dry vacuums. Change and clean all heating and air conditioning filters. Have the heating ducts cleaned by a professional furnace cleaning company.
Walls and Wallpaper: To remove soot and smoke from painted walls, mix 60-90 ml of tri-sodium phosphate, 250 ml bleach, 4 Litres water. Wash a small area at a time, working from the floor up. Leave the ceiling until last. Wallpaper is usually not salvageable, sometimes washable wallpaper can be washed like a painted wall but, work quickly so you don’t soak the paper.
Flooring: When water gets underneath linoleum, it can cause odours and warp the wood subfloor. If water seeped under, remove the linoleum.
Rugs and Carpets: Use wet/dry vacuum or water extractor type carpet cleaning machine to remove water and dirt. Then steam clean and shampoo, repeating as needed. A final rinse using a mix or one part vinegar and two parts waters will help reduce odour.
Mattresses and Pillows: These are usually not salvageable.
Clothing: If clothes are stained from smoke, they will likely not come clean.
Refrigerators and Freezers: Wash the inside with the solution of baking soda and water or use 1 cup vinegar or ammonia to 4 Litres of water.
Cooking Utensils: Make sure all pots, pans, etc are disinfected and thoroughly cleaned.
Leather Goods: It is best to have leather goods professional cleaned.