Smoke damage can leave a musty odor and discolor surfaces. While it can be emotionally difficult to go through your belongings and decide what stays and what goes, the process of cleaning up smoke damage should be done at a pace that makes sense for you and your family. The first step is to clear away items that are not salvageable from the affected area, as well as to vacuum any loose soot and debris.
Once the dust has been removed, you can start cleaning any smoke-affected fabrics. If the smoke damage is not too severe, washing in your washer with cold water and a little detergent should help. If the fabric is soaked in smoke, you may want to consider a dry-cleaning service or shampooing it in your machine to ensure it gets completely clean.
You should also take this opportunity to clean and vacuum carpets. If the smoke smell is strong, you can sprinkle the carpets with baking soda and allow it to sit overnight before vacuuming them again. If there are stains or discoloration from the smoke, you can also try spot cleaning with a cold water and mild dishwashing detergent.
If the walls are visibly smoky, you can use a commercial soot cleaner and a sponge to wash them off, making sure to rinse thoroughly with cold water to prevent any water spots or streaking. Once the walls are clean, you can prime and repaint if needed. It’s best to prime with a solvent-based, stain blocking primer to keep the soot from bleeding through the new paint. smoke damage clean up