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Cleaning Smoke Damaged Walls

Fire and Water Damage and Restoration
Fire, Smoke, or Water Damage?
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Cleaning smoke-damaged walls after a fire might mean calling a professional, or it may be a task you decide to tackle yourself.

If you opt to clean smoke- and soot-damaged walls yourself, the first step is to consider the kind of walls you have to clean. If plaster walls have been damaged, do not use water-based cleansers because they will set the soot stain into the wall.

However, you can buy chemical sponges specifically designed for cleaning smoke-damaged walls. Paint thinner and rubbing alcohol are other options to look into for cleaning walls that cannot be cleaned with water-based cleansers. If you use paint thinner or rubbing alcohol, wear rubber gloves and make sure the room is well ventilated.

If the soot-damaged walls you are cleaning were painted with satin or semi-gloss paint, you may be able to clean it with a mixture of one gallon of warm water and one tablespoon of trisodium phosphate. Be sure to wear rubber gloves and goggles, since trisodium phosphate is a caustic cleanser. Wash the wall one section at a time and rinse it when you are finished. Depending on how badly your walls have been damaged by smoke, you might have to clean them several times.

It’s important to avoid getting too much water on your walls while you are cleaning them, since water can damage your drywall. Also be sure to keep water from getting underneath your baseboards to prevent mold from forming.

Besides removing the stain of soot, part of cleaning smoke-damaged walls is getting rid of the odor of smoke. You can do this by cleaning the walls with a cleanser that smells like orange or a mixture of vinegar and water. Be sure to clean the surrounding counters, switch plates and windows because the smell of smoke often seeps into these areas.

If this does not work, you might need to prime and repaint damaged walls.

If you are unsure of how to tackle the task of cleaning smoke-damaged walls, contact a company that specializes in restoring buildings damaged by fire. These professionals are experts and can often restore your walls to the state they were in before the fire.

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