These tips for cleaning your home after a wildfire will help you emerge from the ashes and return your living space to a safe and comfortable environment.
In addition to decimating acres of forests and wildlife, wildfires can often significantly damage or destroy any homes located on or near their path. If your home was impacted by a wildfire and is still intact, it’s important to clean it properly in order to return your living space to a comfortable and safe environment. Below, we’ve listed some of the most important tips for cleaning your home after a wildfire to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.
Have Your Home Inspected for Potential Safety Risks
First thing’s first: before you even begin to pick up a sponge or broom, you should have your home thoroughly inspected. Even if the wildland fire actually didn’t touch your house, smoke, embers, and substantial heat could have caused damage and created unsafe conditions. As such, it’s essential to have a professional identify any potential safety risks before you re-enter your home and start cleaning.
Take Necessary Safety Precautions
Even if your home is deemed safe enough to return to, you should still take necessary safety precautions to protect yourself from any hazardous fumes or toxins that may linger in the air. For example, it’s a good idea to wear protective clothing such as thick-soled shoes, leather gloves, a mask, goggles, and full-coverage attire. In addition, you should also wet down any debris that you see to reduce your risk of breathing in harmful particles.
Get Your Trash Bags Ready
Once you’ve had your home inspected and have taken the necessary safety precautions, it’s time to start determining which items in your household are beyond saving. For example, after a fire, you will need to throw away various electronic devices that have incurred water or heat damage as they pose a fire hazard.
Other items you should toss after your home has experienced a wildfire include toiletries, medicine, cosmetics, and food, as they may have become contaminated with toxins or had their composition negatively altered by the heat. The safest option is to throw these items out and have them replaced.
Removing Soot and Smoke From Surfaces
Another tip for cleaning your home after a wildfires to take care of all its surfaces. After a wildfire, the walls, floor, furniture, and other surfaces of many homes get covered in soot and smoke. To remove any lingering debris, mix together a couple of tablespoons of dish soap, five tablespoons of trisodium phosphate, and a cup of bleach in a gallon of warm water. Then, while wearing rubber gloves, use a sponge to clean the surfaces of your home in small sections. Start at the top and work your way down. Upon cleaning each area, immediately rinse it with clean water and allow it to dry completely.