Soot is one of the reasons why you should never enter a place after a fire. When it comes to smoke damage cleanup, professionals pay particular attention to soot buildup. That's because soot is a dangerous substance that can make even the things that didn't burn unfit for future use.
What You Should Know about Soot
When things burn, soot forms as a bunch of impure carbons. The makeup of soot can change depending on what was burned. Three main aspects of soot can help to illustrate what makes soot so dangerous:
- Soot is particulate matter – It's tiny, easily inhalable, and can consist of various toxic components.
- Soot is airborne particulate matter – It can travel beyond the place where the burning occurred.
- Soot is sticky particulate matter – It can settle as a corrosive film, and stick to just about anything.
Soot, if left too long, can completely ruin personal property or even whole buildings. It also poses a high health risk.
What You Should Do about Soot
If you're dealing with a small amount of smoke damage confined to a small, manageable area, then you can take some action on your own. Focus on the ceiling, walls, and any immovable items, such as fixtures.
From there you can concentrate on individual items in the space. After, you can work on the floors. At each stage, you should cover the things you're not currently working on to prevent further buildup of soot on them.
You should not attempt to clean up soot on your own after a fire of sufficient size. Hire a professional fire damage restoration or smoke cleanup service to remove soot and other smoke-related damage.
Never enter a place or area after a fire unless authorities say you can. Even when it's okay to enter, you should at least have a service come and give you a fire damage assessment.
Sometimes the fire department can give you an assessment, or they can give you a fire report. How to obtain a fire report varies between jurisdictions. If you're unsure of where to start or what you can do, contact your local fire department and ask.
You should also contact your insurance company as soon as possible. They can also help you figure out which steps you will need to take regarding repair and restoration. If you're in doubt about any part of the process, don't take any chances. Contact a smoke damage cleanup service, such as Professional Restoration.