A Step-by-Step Repair Guide for Fire and Smoke Damage in the Kitchen
If your home or office kitchen has suffered from a recent fire, the first step to returning to normal is cleaning up the fire and smoke damage. If your kitchen is still mostly in good condition except for the smell and the soot stains, you’re in luck. It is possible to restore your kitchen completely if you know how to clean away the soot. Of course, soot takes more than just a soapy sponge and elbow grease to get rid of. You’ll need a few specific techniques.
Today, we’re here to share a comprehensive step-by-step guide to repair the fire and smoke damage in your kitchen and restore it to a cheerful, functional, and safe place for cooking.
- Box Fans
- Protective Gear
- Rubber Gloves and Long Sleeves
- Mask and Hair Coverings
- Close-Toed Shoes and Long Pants
- Clean Sponges
- Clean Water
- Mild Citrus-Scented Detergent
- Chemical Sponges
- TSP Cleaning Chemical
1) Confirm Safety
The first step is always to ensure that the building and kitchen are safe to reenter, and that the air quality is not so laden with soot that you will be in danger. Confirm this with your fire authority before entering to perform cleaning repairs.
When you enter, gear up in protective rubber gloves with a long sleeve shirt tucked into the gloves. Cover your hair and wear a bandana or mask over your face. to protect yourself from breathing too much residual soot, and to protect from the chemicals you’ll be using.
2) Ventilate Thoroughly
When you’re sure it’s safe, bring your fans. Open any nearby windows and use them to ventilate the area of any soot hanging in the air. If you can, set one fan in the doorway pointing into the kitchen and another fan pointing out the kitchen window. This will channel the soot outside instead of into the building.
3) Remove All Contaminated or Damaged Items
Any food that was open or that has spoiled since the fire needs to be thrown out. If you’re not sure, default to throwing out food items. However, items sealed and closed in an undamaged pantry may be okay to keep. Any kitchen items that were damaged by the fire or is permanently damaged by the soot should be thrown out.
4) Put Down Drop Cloths on the Floor and Counters
To clean up, you’ll be kicking up a lot of soot so it’s a good idea to protect the floor and lower surfaces. Put down drop cloths to fully cover the floor, countertops, and any tables that were undamaged. Consider laying electrical tape along the gap between the wall and footboards as well, which can prevent mold when you scrub the walls later.
5) Vacuum Up Loose Soot
Use your vacuum with the plane (flat wide) hose attachment on the walls, holding the attachment about a half-inch away from the wall to pull away the loose soot. Any soot that doesn’t get vacuumed up will fall on the floor.
6) Brush Away Soot with a Chemical Sponge
Use a dry chemical sponge when the vacuum has done all it can. The chemicals in the sponge will help fight soot while the dry sponge will gently brush any additional loose soot off the walls.
7) Use a TPS Solution to Scrub Soot From Walls, Counters, and Cabinets
TSP stands for Tri-Sodium Phosphate. This is a cleaning solution made from a molecule of Sodium and phosphate in a 3:1 ratio, as you may have guessed from highschool chemistry class. It’s the recommended way to wash soot from your walls, cabinets, and otherwise undamaged appliances.
Mix the TSP in your bucket with 1 gallon of water to 1 tablespoon of TSP. Dip your sponge and wring it to a non-dripping damp and scrub away at your walls. Rinse and repeat. Then rinse the walls with a clean sponge damp with clean water.
8) Deodorize Your Walls
When you’re done with the TSP and rinsing, you’ll probably still smell soot even if you can’t see it. You can use white vinegar, fabreze, or citrus-scented detergent to help deodorize the room. Our recommendation is the citrus-scented detergent mixed with soap and sponged over damaged surfaces.
9) Decide If You Need Commercial Restoration
If, after all your hard work, you still see soot stains or fire damage, it may be time to call for professional restoration. DIY can handle mild fire and smoke damage, but serious smoke cleaning chemicals and methods may require the help of a professional restoration team.
10) Repaint Everything
When the smoke and soot are fully cleared away, you’ll probably want to repaint your kitchen. Interior paint seldom survives soot damage followed by rigorous chemical scrubbing. If your paint has faded or scuffed, reapply a coat of primer and fresh interior paint to make your kitchen “good as new” again.
A fire in your home or business kitchen is not the end for that room. Buildings recover from fire and smoke damage all the time. Your kitchen can be returned to a beautiful and functional state with thorough cleaning, deodorizing, and repainting. If your DIY efforts are not as effective as you’d like, contact us today and our restoration professionals will be happy to help you get your kitchen back into ship-shape with no lingering staining or odor.