The effects of fire are devastating. The people of Cape Town, following the epic blaze that struck their city, have been left traumatised. In addition to this emotional trauma, many people have to deal with the mammoth practical and technical task of cleaning up their fire-damaged homes. Even households not severely and directly impacted by the fire have to be aware of its far-reaching damage. Ash and smoke are pervasive and produce long-term hazardous effects: you may be surprised to find parts of your ceiling corroding, or permanent etching on your windows, or just a lingering and powerful smoke odour. In fact, it’s worth looking in every nook and cranny for some kind of defacement. Smoke eventually dissipates after a fire, but in scientific terms, “the rapid cooling of the particles of incomplete combustion leaves a film and odour that penetrates throughout buildings” (source: Mitigating the effects of fire damage, as well as reducing the chances of longer-term devastation, require drastic cleaning solutions. ‘Drastic cleaning’ may sound overwhelming in an already difficult situation, so in the interests of keeping calm and carrying on, here is a brief overview of what most needs your attention:

1. The carpets

It may not be necessary to replace the entire carpet, but ash has probably seeped its way in, silently eating away at the carpet fibres with its acidic jaws. It is therefore best to do deep carpet cleaning where the ash at the base of the carpet can be extracted. Thus chemical compounds safely break down the grime in the carpet. In this way, not only will the ash be dealt with, but also those pesky dust mites (which are microscopically small) that love to nestle and get comfortable under your feet. Rugs and mats can also be cleaned this way.
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2. The ceilings

Usually, ash builds up in layers and can eventually form into a paint-like, sticky consistency that is difficult to remove. The list of things that would permanently glue themselves to the ceiling is as endless as your imagination (we stopped at flies and spiders). The expensive solution is to replace the ceiling, and painting it won’t mask any odours. The most effective way to get the ceilings in tip-top shape condition is to do ceiling cleaning in a non-toxic way and healthy. Cleaning solutions that are enzyme-based (no bleach) and biodegradable are preferable.

3. The furniture and upholstery

Your home should be a haven. Unfortunately, fire damage is insidious, and ash and dust have probably found their way into your pillows and your mattress. You wouldn’t even be able to swop the bed for the couch because the latter has not escaped either. In fact, nothing has eluded Mr Fire, not even the blinds and the curtains. This means that professional steam cleaning of both your furniture and upholstery is necessary.

4. Windows and Walls

The layers of ash and soot likely gathered on windows and walls won’t easily be enticed to go away with a mere wet rag. Purified water, which undergoes a chemical change, provides an effective window cleaning solution. The use of purified water means panes need only be scrubbed with a brush; no chemicals; no squeegee. Contact us today to find a cleaning solution that suits your home and budget.

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Image credit - Photo by Clint Sutton on Wild Fire Today  
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