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How Does Post Fire-Damage Cleanup Work?

Experiencing a fire on your property is terrifying and incredibly stressful, especially if you lost many treasured belongings in the blaze. Many of us think only of the immediate event and never consider what happens after the flames have died down and the rescue crews have departed; we might believe that everything in the entire home will have to be thrown away. This can add even more heartache to an already horrible situation, as it might feel as if you have nothing left except what you were able to rescue before escaping.

Fortunately, this isn’t the case: there are many items which can be rescued and restored by a qualified Portland water damage restoration company. You might be familiar with how these professionals can clean and repair the structure of your home, but you may not realize that there’s even more they can fix for you – including some of your most treasured belongings. Using a variety of techniques, experts can bring numerous different objects back to their former glory, providing you with comfort in a very difficult time.

What are some of the methods used by water damage restoration companies to bring back the shine of various household items? These treatments can do wonders for objects of all sizes and types, with experts carefully selecting the best method for each one of your favorite things.

Dry cleaning is suitable for fabric and artwork

Much like the dry cleaning you have done at a cleaner’s, this method utilizes sponges, vacuums, and compressed air to loosen and suck away any particulates that have landed on couches, chairs, or paintings. It’s a gentle method reserved for those objects that cannot tolerate water or detergents.

Wet cleaning helps hard surfaces and some textiles

For those pieces that aren’t dry clean only, such as wooden tables, clothing, and certain upholsteries, cleaners can use water, mild detergents, and agitation to draw out embedded contaminants; it’s not much different than a very low spin cycle. Only those items which can tolerate water will be exposed to this, and they will be dried thoroughly to prevent mold from growing.

Foam cleaning can assist with carpets and rugs

While some carpet will need to be completely removed and replaced, those that were lightly exposed to smoke but weren’t entirely soaked may receive a foam cleaning treatment, which isn’t much different than when you shampoo your carpets normally. Rugs tolerate this treatment well because they can be lifted and dried from all angles, so rest assured that you won’t lose that beautiful Persian carpet that wasn’t touched by the flames. Technicians will use special foam cleaners and massage them into the fibers with brushes or sponges, depending on how delicate the carpet might be. This foam will absorb all the particles trapped in the material, which will then be vacuumed away.

Immersion cleaning works on dishware, ceramics, and certain metals

You might think that a simple rinse in the dishwasher will take care of soot on your plates and bowls, but water damage restoration companies go further than that: after all, exposure to any level of smoke particulates can have serious effects on your health. You don’t want to risk eating or drinking contaminated food, so cleaners will immerse all your dishware and ceramics in a cleaning solution that lifts and destroys these tiny, invisible leavings from the fire. The technicians will determine which items are best for immersion cleaning and which others may be better cleaned by a different method.

For some objects, abrasive cleaning will do wonders

Stainless steel, porcelain, tile, glass, and stonework that can withstand a bit of scrubbing will be subjected to mild abrasive cleaners, which will be applied and then brushed away with sponges or other gentle materials. This will help to remove any clinging remnants of soot or grime caused by chemical reactions in the fire, leaving your objects fresh as the day they were made. Water damage restoration companies are very familiar with how different objects are constructed and which ones can handle abrasive cleaning; any that they don’t feel will tolerate the treatment will likely be cleaned using wet cleaning or immersion cleaning instead.

Ultrasonic cleaning can assist with more delicate items

Some objects are so precious that they can’t be dry cleaned or scrubbed, which is when restoration specialists will turn to a different, more high-tech method. In this treatment, items are placed in a cleaning tank and then subjected to ultrasonic waves, which shake out deeply embedded particulates; afterwards, they are carefully rinsed and dried. Ultrasonic cleaning is most frequently used for anything that has small, complex components, such as jewelry, clocks, watches, and some electronics. 


Ozone can neutralize stubborn smoke smells from a variety of different objects

We usually think of ozone in terms of the ozone layer or its status as a greenhouse gas, but it can have technical applications as well: this gas can penetrate objects and neutralize strong odors as well. For items that have already been treated by other means but still have a smokey scent, they can be placed inside a sealed container, which then has ozone gas pumped in and removed. Because ozone gas has health risks, this must be done by trained professionals who know how to safely work with the apparatus. 

Your Oregon water damage restoration team will do everything possible to breathe life back into your favorite things

While some home furnishings or personal effects will have to be thrown away, many can be saved by careful treatment and thoughtful application of cleaners. As a rule of thumb, most hard objects that were not scorched or burnt can be saved if they are properly sanitized: for example, you may not have to junk your beloved dining set or the ceramic plates that you received as a wedding gift. While not every fabric can be saved, the technicians restoring your belongings will do their best to remove stubborn particulates; if necessary, they will collaborate with expert craftsmen to repair damage and replace ruined fabrics.

Experiencing a house fire is traumatic enough without losing everything you love, which is why it’s important that you work with a great fire damage restoration company with strong expertise in repairing any manner of items.