Protein Fires: What They Are and How to Clean Up a Protein Fire

Do you have sticky, greasy stains in your kitchen? Does your kitchen smell like grease or rancid meat? These are the 2 most common signs of protein fires. Even if you didn’t see flames, grilling, charring, or sauteing food can produce a fine mist of soot and grease. These will coat kitchen surfaces and cause lingering greasy smells. While this probably isn’t what you think of when you think of fire damage, protein fires can still damage your kitchen. From what causes them to how to clean up a protein fire, we look at ways to get rid of that greasy build-up and keep your kitchen smelling fresh.

Grease stains or smokey odors in the kitchen? Call 1-888-443-3110 for a free estimate on cleanup from a contractor near you.

What is a Protein Fire

Although protein fire isn’t a well-known term, it’s one of the most common types of kitchen fires. A protein fire involves burning high protein foods like meat, fish, poultry, and eggs. They release grease and proteins into the air, often as a fine mist that coat surfaces throughout the kitchen.

One of the biggest problems with protein fires is that they don’t always have significant flames or heavy smoke. In fact, even just regular cooking can produce a heavy build-up of grease and soot in the kitchen. Protein fires occur most often as a result of frying, grilling, or sauteing, but they may happen any time you cook high-protein foods.

Signs of Protein Fires

The signs of protein fires may after burning food, but they also will build up over time.

  • Persistent meat or grease smells that become rancid over time
  • Sticky surfaces that are nearly impossible to clean
  • Yellowish to brown stains that form drip-like patterns
  • Brown or black soot stain that seems to appear after cooking

Why Cleaning Up a Protein Fire is Difficult

While you will notice burned food, it easy to overlook the risk of protein fires because of the lack of flames and heavy smoke. As a result, the grease and soot residue of protein fires often go unnoticed for weeks or even months. Even if there is a significant flair up or smoke, the risk of protein fires goes overlooked unless there is flame damage.

The grease and soot will build up over time and lead to yellowish-brown stains and rancid, meaty odors. By the time you see or smell the signs of a protein fire, the stains are set in and difficult to clean.

The grease not only seeps into porous surfaces, but it also discolors most surfaces. The grease and soot along with other dirt and dust create a sticky layer that most regular cleaners cannot cut through. Even with repeated cleaning and deodorizing, protein fire stains and smells will remain.

How to Clean Up a Protein Fire

The most effective way to clean up a protein fire is to clean up before soot and grease build-up. Clean surfaces after cooking with a mixture of a quarter cup of white vinegar and tablespoon of liquid dish soap per quart of water. Store in a mason jar or spray bottle and use anytime you cook proteins.

To deodorize, sprinkle baking soda on surfaces then wipe clean with a damp rag an hour later. You can also put out jars of chunk charcoal or leftover coffee grounds to naturally absorb the smell. Boil the chunk charcoal in water for 10 minutes every 2 weeks and they will last a year. When using coffee grounds, compost or dispose of them every day.

If the protein fire stains are set in, the cleaning process is more difficult. Clean stains with white vinegar and baking soda. Make a loose paste and allow the bubbling action to loosen the grease. Then clean with the vinegar, dish soap, and water solution as above. It may take repeated vinegar and baking soda cleanings to remove tough stains.

For persistent or rancid meaty or smoke odors, clean surfaces thoroughly with equal parts of white vinegar and warm water. Mix up small batches and scrub small areas at a time for the best results. Repeat as necessary until the odors are gone. If you cannot remove odors from protein fires, contact a fire damage restoration company.

Protein Fire Smoke Odor and Grease Stain Removal Services

If you cannot remove protein fire smells and stains, let us connect you with a local fire damage restoration. As the #1 network of restoration contractors, we have listings across the country for fire damage and smoke removal companies. With both independent companies and popular brands like DKI Restoration, we make it easy to choose a fire damage restoration contractor near you now. For immediate fire damage restoration, call 1-888-443-3110 to get a free, no-obligation estimate from our on-call contractor in your area.

Author: Jeff Rooks

Jeff Rooks writes restoration content that helps homeowners restore their lives after a disaster or accident. Most days, you can find him cycling through Tampa. He also enjoys exploring new and delicious food and beverages around the world.

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