Cleaning News Cleaning and Deodorizing After the Fires Are Out


Staff member
Sep 4, 2007
Real Name
Robert Allen III 'Tre'
Business Location
United States
This article is from Scott Warrington.

The recent fires in southern California left 2,000 homes in smoldering ruins. However, the number of homes with damage from smoke, ash and odor numbers into the 100,000s. Restoration contractors are overwhelmed with calls from families desperate to have their homes cleaned. Trained cleaners can not meet the demand for their services.

Other home-owners are trying to solve their cleaning problems themselves, often with less than satisfactory results.

Cleaners who are not involved in fire and smoke restoration compassion for these victims, but may lack the training, experience or products necessary to help. Cleaners are aware that someone will perform these services. The last thing they want is for their clients to be forced to bring in another cleaning company to correct smoke and odor problems.

The Smoke, Ash & Odor Cleaning seminar being held at Interlink Supply of Ontario is designed to help cleaners get the basic skills they need to assist those who are dealing with the smoke, odor and other after-effects from these recent fires. While this is not a full fledge fire damage restoration class, it will equip you to offer solutions to your customers.

What advice can you give your clients until the cleaning can be done?

  • Particles of soot are considered carcinogenic. They need to protect themselves from breathing these small particles. In most cases a dust mask rated at N95 or better will do just fine. However, the very young (less than 2 years old) and anyone with impaired breathing should avoid areas where soot is still present. Dust masks are available at Interlink Supply.
  • Give first priority to surfaces that are most easily damaged by soot. These include windows and other glass, chrome, stainless steel and other polished or painted metal including plumbing fixtures and appliances. These surfaces can be wiped down with a clean terry cloth using a alkaline cleaner with no strong solvents such as Spinergy 11, ammonia (diluted in water) or many window cleaning products.
  • Keep doors and windows closed to prevent more soot and odor from entering the home. Use extensive matting at entry ways to prevent soot and ash from being tracked in.
  • Change HVAC filters.
  • Stone surfaces such as marble, travertine and limestone will also be damaged by acid soot if not cleaned promptly. These floors and counters should be swept and mopped with a neutral cleaner until professional cleaning can be accomplished. Bridgepoint’s Spinergy Stone Rejuvenator works great for this purpose.
  • Upholstery, drapes and other soft furnishings should not be used until they are professionally cleaned. When upholstery must be used, placed covers, bed sheets or other protection over them.
  • Home-owners should not attempt to wash painted or wood paneled walls, vacuum or otherwise clean upholstery or carpets. There is a possibility they could damage the furnishings as well as spreading soot into the air and around the home.
    Main Points to be covered

This will cover clean-up of smoke odors, soot and ash from recent fires. It will not cover issues that may arise from fires in a home such as the effect of heat, odors from burning plastic, odors from burned food, etc.

Close doors and windows to prevent additional soot and odor from entering home.
Change air filters – type of filters, how often to change
Close windows and doors to prevent additional soot and odor from entering home, especially after cleaning begins. Don’t recontaminate!
Residents should protect themselves – Vacate premises. Soot is carcinogenic. Especially the very young, old, any with breathing difficulty due to emphysema, CPOD, lung or throat cancer, heart problems, etc.
Technicians and any residents who remain should protect themselves by wearing N-95 filtering masks

What to clean
Clean from top down
Clean surfaces will soot will adhere or be attracted to
Clean surfaces that soot and ash are tracked into
Clean surfaces that absorb odor

The process, tools and products for cleaning...

Immediate air quality issues – air scrubbers, deodorization
Respirators, HEPA 500 scrubbers (Dri-Eaz), HEPA Guardian & Mini Guardian (Pheonix); N-95 Dust masks (AX96), respirators (?)

Ceilings – Dry Cleaning sponges, Fixi-clamp; Vinyl disposable gloves, IAQ 5000
Painted walls – Above plus Hard Power (Viper Venom as alternative)
Appliances, plumbing fixtures, windows – Spinergy 11
Contents cleaning – Spinergy 7, Dust Cloths (treated), Ultrasonic powder
Upholstery cleaning – Avenge upholstery products, upholstery cleaning tools, Citrus Solv, Maxim protectors, other upholstery products
(Have Fast Track Upholstery Cleaning Guides available)
Duct work cleaning – Duct Wizard, Soot Sealer CD25 GL, Possibly IAQ 7000, 7500, 8000,
Hard surface floors and counter tops – Viper Venom, Spinergy 11, SX-12, Gekko tools, Floor squeegee, Stonetech Klenz All, Stone & Tile Cleaner, Revitalizer, sealers –Hydroforce Premium Stone & Grout, Stonetech, Grout Sealer
Carpet Cleaning presprays – Zone Perfect, Traffic Slam, Green Balance
Rinse agents – End Zone, Green Balance (both rinses)

Deodorizing Products & Equipment

Vaportech - S.O.S. Stand Alone cartridge, Restorator, Vapor Shark, S.O.S. High output cartridge for Resorator, S.O.S. membrane for Vapor Shark
Hydrozone Ozone Generator, Sonozaire 5G ozone generator
Electric Hot Fogger
Golden Eagle hot Fogger
Hydrocide, Neutral Air, Meadow Fresh, Spring Morning deodorizers
Thermal fog (CD27)
Solvent Deodorizer

Various sprayers
White terry towels
Pullman-Holt vac literature (Model 45, Model 102ASB-12P and accessories)

Starter package – Soot sponges, Hydrocide qt

By, Scott Warrington