When cleaning floors after a fire, you need to consider the materials involved. The process isn’t the same for cleaning hardwood floors as it is for vinyl or laminate flooring. From using the right cleaners to knowing when to replace the flooring, we cover how to clean floors after a fire.
How to Clean Floors After a Fire
It’s natural to want to begin cleaning up after a fire as soon as possible, but you should always wait until the scene has been cleared by a professional. Additionally, always wear the right safety gear to prevent injury. This includes thick work boots, pants, long sleeves, work gloves, goggles, and a ventilator. While not necessary, knee and elbow pads are recommended for your comfort.
Regardless of the type of flooring, start by removing surface debris with a shop vacuum. Avoid pressing the hose nozzle directly against the surface, as this can grind in the dirt. Additionally, start at the edge of the room and slowly work towards to center. This also helps prevent grinding in stains as you work.
To actually clean the floors, mix 4 tablespoons of liquid dish soap into a gallon of warm water. Using a soft sponge to gently scrub the floor. For hardwoods or flooring that has a wood-grain texture, scrub with the grain to avoid leaving streaks or scratches. For vinyl or tile, work in small circles to get into small crevices and grout.
Use either a rag or a soft mop to rinse flooring with clean, warm water to remove soap and other debris. Depending on the type of material, you may need to repeat the cleaning process several times. Limit foot traffic on the flooring until the stains are removed. Also, move appliances and other items to ensure the entire floor is clean.
Always Remove Water Before Cleaning Floors After a Fire
Wait to begin cleaning floors after a fire until you have removed standing water and thoroughly dried the area. Use a mop or rags to remove excess water, then dry the area using air movers and dehumidifiers. If significant water is involved, walking or standing on wet floors can weaken materials and shorten their lifespan.
Cleaning Hardwood Floors After a Fire
When cleaning hardwood floors after a fire, begin with the process outlined above.
How to Clean Soot Off Wood Floors
Soot can leave a thick residue on hardwood floors, so it may require additional cleaning. Clean hardwoods with oil soap and either a soft sponge or a mop. Avoid applying too much force, as this will scratch your floors.
How to Clean Smoke Damaged Wood Floors
Unfortunately, smoke stains are harder to remove. In this case, you will need to sand and refinish your floors. Rent a floor sander for the best, most consistent results. Then stain and seal the wood for the best finish.
Cleaning Vinyl Floors After a Fire
Clean vinyl floors as outlined above, but be prepared to need to replace part or all of the floor depending on the damage. Vinyl is very porous and will absorb stains quickly. Additionally, heat can warp or even melt it.
Most vinyl floors are individual tiles, but some come as rolls as well. You can replace individual vinyl flooring tiles to remove the stain. For rolled vinyl flooring, you will need to replace the entire floor.
Cleaning Tile Floors After a Fire
Sealed or glazed tiles are usually resistant to soot stains, so follow the cleaning process above. However, unglazed tiles are porous and will absorb stains easily. Instead of following the cleaning procedure above, scrub the floor with a soft-bristled brush and liquid dish soap.
Scrub in tight circles to get deep into the grain of the tiles. Wipe the soap suds away with a clean, damp rag and repeat as necessary. Depending on the extent of the fire damage, you may need to replace individual tiles.
Call 1-888-443-3110 Now for Professional Help Cleaning Floors After a Fire
Cleaning floors after a fire takes time and hard work. If you need help removing stains from your floors after a fire, choose a fire restoration company near you now. Our listings include independent companies as well as the most popular brands like Belfor Restoration and Paul Davis Restoration. For immediate service, call 1-888-443-3110 for a free estimate from our on-call fire cleanup company in your area.