There are 3 Main Types of Smoke Residues Left After a Fire

Fire Bucks County









Smoke residue after a home fire is called soot. Typically there are three major types of soot left after a home fire.

Natural Substances that have Burned


The soot formed by the burning of leather, paper products, wood furniture, natural fabric clothing and natural rubber will appear as a greyish-black color that forms as a dry powdery residue. This type of soot residue is relatively easy to tackle. After diagnosing that the soot is from a natural substance, HEPA vacuuming and dry-chem sponge cleaning would make things like new again. While cleaning, make sure that the smears are not worsened.


Restoration to a home always requires careful planning. The smoke emanating from the lower floors of a home can create untold damages to the upper floors of a home. Keep in mind that hot air always travel upward. The odor caused by fire and smoke will linger for a long period of time if not cleaned up immediately.


Man-made or Synthetic Materials That Leave Residual Soot Damage


Hydrocarbon (HC) based materials such as Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC), and plastics that are burned in a fire will cause a thick black smoke. This will in turn leave behind a smeary soot, which is not easy to clean. This type of cleaning calls for an IIRC professional cleaning company. The process used for this type of cleaning is HEPA vacuuming followed by wet washing of walls, ceilings, and floors with a Trisodium Phosphate or TSP. TSP has been used as an extremely effective heavy-duty cleaner, but may no longer be available in some areas.  If this is the case, you can substitute with TSP-PF, which is the phosphate-free version of TSP, in its place.


Burning of Protein Rich Substances


The burning of proteins such as meats, almonds, chicken, eggs, and beans, produces a different smear. The smear looks like dark patches or dry yellow patches. The sticky nature makes the situation a bit harder to clean. A good fire-cleaning chemical that should be used is Chemeisters SootMeister. Over doing with this chemical, is not recommended. However, a professional cleaner would know the correct proportion, soaking time, and the best process for making the cleaning impeccable and restore the building back to its pre-loss condition.


Soot from fires can come in several forms. Dry Smoke Residue, Wet Smoke Residue, and Fire Extinguisher Residue as well. If you have smoke damage and need help, contact the team at First Choice Restoration today. From smoke, fire, water, and mold damage cleanup to flood damage services, we are here to help.


About First Choice Restoration


First Choice Restoration is a water, mold, fire, and smoke remediation company headquartered in Philadelphia, PA. The company also operates additional offices throughout other areas of Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, and Delaware. The company has been assisting homeowners and businesses with water, mold, fire, and smoke cleanup for over 40 years.

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