Property owners with fire damaged homes or buildings face a myriad of restoration issues. Before you rebuild, you’ll need to consider restoring the rest of the property still standing.

After the flames are extinguished, you may be facing a houseful of soot. If fire hoses have been involved, then you also will need to consider water damage, and the possibility of mold and odor. Here’s what you can do to handle some of the cleanup on your own.

How to clean soot

After a fire, soot may well be coating everything in your home or business. Besides being dirty and smelly, soot is also unhealthy to breathe. But don’t worry, most of your possessions can be salvaged with proper cleaning and here are some tips. First, know the kind of soot you’re dealing with, oily or dry.

  • You can tell if it’s oily soot if it leaves a greasy smear when you drag a finger across it. This kind of soot sticks to surfaces. You’ll have to wash it with degreasers and rags.
  • Dry soot can be more easily dislodged from surfaces with vacuuming, but also can be more easily airborne. Wear a dust mask, and use a HEPA vacuum for dry soot. To prevent it from recirculating and recoating your surfaces, change the air intake filter in your HVAC system before and after cleaning, and place dampened cheesecloth rages over the vents to catch any remains.


You may find after soot has been cleaned, persistent odors remain. There are some steps you can take to refresh and restore your environmental air quality. Have your ducts and HVAC system cleaned. You may have to replace any insulation that is accessible, such as in the attic. Special sealers formulated specifically for odor control can be painted on charred surfaces that may not have been replaced. You might need some combination of air scrubbers, hydroxyl generators, or primers/sealers to take care of the issue. RestorePro is an IICRC certified firm in odor control and can advise you on the most economical and effective approach.


If the fire department rescued your building, then most likely you’ll have to contend with water damage. Without quick remediation, mold can get established inside your walls and compound your repair and restoration costs. It’s imperative to extract any standing water or puddles quickly using pumps and water vacuums. Pull up carpeting, move soaked, upholstered furniture out and get the fans circulating. Depending on the extent of the water damage, you might need an array of heavy duty dehumidifiers and industrial strength air circulating devices. Soaked drywall and insulation needs to be removed and disposed of quickly. This will prevent water soaking into the building’s structural components, which are much more expensive to replace. RestorePro is on call 24/7 to respond quickly with equipment and manpower to mitigate your restoration cost.

RestorePro has been a trusted resource for restoration in eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire since 1997. We are IICRC certified in:

  • Fire & Smoke Restoration
  • Water Damage Restoration
  • Odor Control
  • Applied Structural Drying
  • Applied Microbial Remediation

If you need fire damage services, call RestorePro 1-800-847-0114. Check us out on Facebook to find out what our many satisfied clients have to say about us.