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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Getting Rid of Soot Stains and Odors after Fire Damage in Your Superior Kitchen

4/4/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Getting Rid of Soot Stains and Odors after Fire Damage in Your Superior Kitchen Soot from Your Superior Kitchen Fire Leaves a Smelly, Messy Cleanup

SERVPRO's Expertise and Equipment Restore Fire Damaged Properties

Search online for images of ‘kitchen fires, ’ and there are thousands of similar results. Mild to moderate incidents (with no damage to the roof) tend to be dominated by one thing. Soot. It is what causes rooms to turn black and take on that dusty, chalky, or oily appearance.

Cooking oil fires are particularly tricky because they burn hot and fast. They produce a distinct type of soot. It is oily, greasy, and hard to remove from surfaces. This is why, when dealing with fire damage in Superior homes, SERVPRO uses a variety of cleaning techniques to ensure that all soot stains get cleaned and restored.

Keep reading to find out more about these sooty deposits and what to do when they appear after a kitchen fire.

Understanding the Basics
Soot and smoke develop when a fuel (like wood) becomes partially combusted. It is a by-product of this process and, specifically, the interaction between the fuel and the oxygen in the air. It has a fine texture. Even when it is oily, it can look like a powder.

It is one of the reasons why many homeowners try dry wiping and end up smearing the deposits further. In some cases, it does work, but not after cooking oil fires. The soot is too greasy, and it clings to surfaces. It usually smells very unpleasant too.

Cleaning Soot Deposits
Fortunately, the experts at SERVPRO are trained to deal with this kind of damage. Our exact approach depends on the circumstances of the fire, but we have access to cutting edge cleaning tools and equipment. For oily soot, we use high alkali detergents to cut through the grease and break down the particles before making contact. SERVPRO carries a large inventory of cleaning products to combat all types of staining.

In the case of serious fires – with large amounts of damage and stains – we may decide to use pressure washing tools to clean the walls. Crucially, however, this is only an appropriate strategy if the water is not going to cause damage to otherwise untouched items. Soft surfaces (curtains, drapes, and rugs), require cleaning off site in specialized washers typically from the Esporta Line of products.

Getting Rid of Odors
Soot leaves an acrid odor, and it is often one of the hardest things to remove after a kitchen fire. When grease and cooking oils burn, they generate harsh chemicals and the space requires ventilation. Technicians can isolate and contain the smoke and soot damaged areas and then, when feasible, open up doors and windows to let in clean air. Any HVAC systems must be inactive to prevent circulation of particulates throughout the structure.

Ventilation is not effective enough on its own, however, so they also set up deodorizing machines. These remarkable devices produce a range of odor busting substances. Some kill the odor particles outright. Others create a sweet smelling substance which binds to the odor particle and neutralizes it until it becomes caught (and contained) in an air filter.

At SERVPRO of Lafayette/Louisville, fire damage is a serious business. We deal with many kitchen fires every year, so our technicians know just what to do. If you live in the Superior region and need fast, effective repairs, call us 24/7 at (303) 604-6607.

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