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How To Clean Smoke Damage On Walls And Ceilings

How To Clean Smoke Damage On Walls And Ceilings

Addressing ceiling smoke damage and cleaning smoke damaged walls can feel like an arduous task. Amidst the myriad of challenges that arise following a fire, the introduction of potentially toxic chemicals and the looming threat to health and safety only emphasise the need for expert intervention over a DIY approach.

Figures from the UK Government‘s Fire and rescue incident statistics report show that the Fire and Rescue Services (FRSs) attended 143,625 fire related incidents within England in the year ending September 2023. The frequent occurrence of fires in the UK leaves many individuals with the daunting task of clean up, yet often, they lack awareness of the significant health hazards associated with the aftermath.

When tackling the clean up of smoke damaged walls and ceilings, the challenges extend far beyond just smoke odour and soot covered surfaces. To safeguard both your property and your well-being, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to effectively address the complexities of cleaning smoke damage.

In this guide, we will cover;

  • The protective gear you will need to effectively clean smoke damage and remain safe
  • Common cleaning materials used for smoke damage removers
  • Steps to take to clean smoke damage off ceilings
  • Steps to take to clean smoke damage off walls

Protective Gear to Effectively Clean Smoke Damage and Remain Safe

Smoke doesn’t just cause damage to your walls and ceilings, it can also cause damage to your body. Smoke is highly acidic in nature and contains a lot of toxins that can lead to future health issues within your respiratory system, along with your skin and eyes.

Having the correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will keep you safe from these risks. Ensuring your body is fully clothed with trousers, a long sleeved top, gloves and shoes will provide a layer of protection between your body and any harmful substances.

You should also wear goggles and a mask over your mouth and nose – this is absolutely vital and no cleaning work should be undertaken until this step has been completed. You may also want to consider wearing a hard hat if the structure of the building is somewhat compromised, but please ensure the building is safe to begin clean-up in this instance.

The Health and Safety Executive provide further guidance on how to make sure your PPE fits correctly.

Common Cleaning Materials Used As Smoke Damage Removers

The cleaning materials used to eradicate wall and ceiling smoke damage, as well as the lingering smoke odour from the property, are specifically designed to effectively combat these often resilient substances. The materials you should consider using during smoke damage clean-up includes:

  • Rags
  • Cloths
  • Dry sponges (Also known as ‘soot sponges’ or ‘soot eraser’, which are made of vulcanised rubber)
  • High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) vacuum

Cleaning substances that are commonly used for smoke removal and soot stains from walls and ceilings are focused on breaking down the acidic substance, whilst clearing away any smoke odour. These types of cleaning products include:

  • Degreaser
  • Baking soda
  • Soot remover
  • Bleach

Steps By Step Guide to Cleaning Smoke Damage

Cleaning Smoke Damage Off Ceilings

The ceiling should be cleaned before the walls or floors as any soot or smoke could fall down and ruin any previous cleaning. Smoke tends to rise within the currents of warm air, making it predominantly impact the ceiling of your property, thereby causing the most significant damage in those areas.

  1. Prior to addressing smoke damage on walls, it’s essential to first secure the area, mitigating any potential safety risks stemming from compromised building structures.
  2. Relocate any furniture or belongings to a separate area unaffected by the fire such as a different room or storage facility. This includes any fixed items that are easily removed such as light switches and plug plates.
    This is a necessary step to prevent further damage and also helps reveal any smoke and soot that may have gathered in a crevice you might have overlooked. You should arrange to have these items cleaned before being placed into the finished room.
  3. Whilst this is happening, open any windows or doors exterior to the property to ventilate the room. You can seal any air ducts with tape to prevent further spread inside the property.
    An air scrubber can then be placed into the room to suck up any soot particles that are floating through the air.
  4. Once this is complete and you have the materials and protective gear you need to get started, you can take a dry cleaning sponge and begin brushing away any soot that is present. This must be done gently to avoid smudging the soot further.
    Ensure you’re paying attention to the light fixtures on the ceiling, as soot is attracted to electricity and can cause long-term damage.
  5. After this step is finished, cleaning the smoke and soot away may commence. By using a cleaning product with a wet sponge or rag, you can begin to clean away the smoke stains and soot, this will also help remove the odour.

Cleaning Smoke Damage Off Walls

Similarly to cleaning smoke damage off walls, it is important to ensure you have adequate protective gear on your body before you begin cleaning smoke damage of ceilings. This should include having all of your skin covered, your eyes and mouth protected and thick gloves on your hands.

Once you have thoroughly cleaned your ceiling, you can begin the same process for your walls. Follow the same steps, but give particular attention to textured walls as well as corners and edges. These areas are likely to harbour soot which may be stubborn or difficult to remove.

Take the utmost care when dealing with electrical outlets and fixtures, as you should avoid contact with any electrical components.

Allow the whole wall to dry thoroughly before continuing with further restoration efforts within your property.

How Rainbow Restoration Can Help

The Rainbow Restoration team understands the importance of returning your property to its pre-fire condition, alleviating the stress and concerns that accompany such a devastating event. Removing any chance of a negative impact on your health or the state of the property itself is the first step to regaining a sense of normality.

That’s why we have curated a set of processes that are developed and led by experts with decades of experience. We have the professional equipment needed to completely remove soot and smoke from walls and ceilings and for targeted smoke damage removal, we know how to spot the signs and remove the chance of future damage.

Smoke Damage Before Smoke Damage After

Get In Touch With Smoke Damage Removal Experts Today

If you’re handling smoke damage in your own property and you’re not sure where to start, call in the experts. Rainbow Restoration’s team are always on hand to support you and our smoke damage restoration services are trusted across the UK to provide the very best results, so please contact us or call our 24 hour National Helpline on 01623 422488 today.

Published: 16 May 2024