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Smoke damage affects the ceilings and walls of a property. This problem is unpleasant and cleaning it is not easy. Smoke is a fuel that fails to burn properly and it is seen in the form of small carbon particles and other elements. After complete combustion, heat, light, and carbon dioxide, as well as water vapor, are produced. These are some of the components of smoke and tiny particles called PM10. PM10 means Particulate Matter whose diameter is below 10 microns. These include small wood tars droplets, soot, ash, and gases. Actually, most elements of smoke have a diameter that is below one micron.

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Charring and Soot

Smoke damage causes discoloration and black marks on the ceiling and walls. These are mainly caused by charring and soot. Soot refers to a residue that smoke leaves behind while charring is paint burning. The first thing that you should do when dealing with smoke damage is assess the damage extent in order to determine if cleaning will solve the problem. Cleaning heavy soot as well as charring that come from the flat-painted wall may not be possible. As such, re-painting and priming might be the only option. If charring is not deep, you can use semi-gloss or satin finishes in solving the problem.

Fixing the Problem

To fix the damage caused by smoke, you will need Trisodium Phosphate which is a cleaner, 2 buckets, a large sponge, warm water, goggles, cleaning gloves, and cleaning rugs. It is important to note that Trisodium Phosphate is harsh. Therefore, wearing gloves is important to prevent skin irritation. It can also cause eye irritation which can be prevented by the use of goggles.

The process

  1. Fill one bucket with warm water and then add a tablespoon of Trisodium Phosphate.
  2. Wear goggles and rubber gloves and then wet your sponge with Trisodium Phosphate solution. Start working on one section by vigorously wiping the ceiling or wall with your wet sponge. Dip the rag in the bucket with clean water to rinse the ceiling or wall thoroughly. Continue this process until the whole area becomes cleaned and rinsed.
  3. You might be required to repeat the process severally depending on the charring and soot buildup severity. However, you should be careful to avoid oversaturating the walls or even let water seep through the baseboards and walls because this can damage them.
  4. If this process fails to remove smoke damage completely, you might be required to prime the ceiling or walls and then repaint them.

Blistering and Bubbling

Blistering and bubbling of paints on the ceiling or walls might be due to excessive heat. A blister or bubble can only be repaired instead of being undone.

The repairing process entails several steps as follows:

  1. Scrap the top part of the blister or bubble gently using a putty knife.
  2. Sand the blister or bubble until it becomes flat
  3. Spackle the area in order to cover imperfections or indents
  4. After drying the Spackle completely, sand the area until it comes smooth, and then flushes it
  5. Paint and prime the area. In case the paint that you use fails to match, be ready to re-paint the whole ceiling, room, or wall.

Dealing With Bad Smoke Odor

Apart from the visible soot buildup and charring, smoke also leaves a bad odor behind. This odor takes some time to disappear and it can be really stubborn. Depending on the strength of smoke odor, there are different methods that can be used to deal with it.

You need to note that if the bad odor caused by smoke has already permeated into the draperies, carpets, and furnishings, you have to replace or remove them since there is not much that you can do to eliminate the odor.

Among the methods that you can use to deal with bad smoke odor include:

Baking soda

Baking soda absorbs a natural odor. To solve the problem of bad smoke odor, sprinkle it in liberal amounts over the floors, walls, and furniture. Leave the bowls with the baking soda in the room that has been affected by smoke damage for some days so that it can absorb the odor.


Vinegar also eliminates odors naturally. You should wipe washable walls, furniture, and floors with it. Also, place some vinegar bowls in the room that has been affected by smoke for some days. If the smell of vinegar is too harsh for you to stand, mix it with lavender oil in a bowl.


This is an odor-reducing product that is sold in most stores. It employs a chemical compound known as cyclodextrin which is a sugar-like substance that absorbs odor. Spraying it over the affected area will help in reducing odor from the smoke.

Fresh air

If your home suffered smoke damage during a warm weather, you can leave doors and windows open for some time. The smoke smell will eventually be dissipated by fresh air.

Activated charcoal

Usually, this product is used in form of a detoxifying agent. However, it also absorbs odors naturally. Therefore, try placing activated charcoal in bowls around the affected rooms for some days.

Ozone generators

Ozone generators are products that eliminate or help in the reduction of smoke odor from a room. However, these products are expensive but they are effective. Nevertheless, they will not eliminate the smoke odor completely especially if it has already permeated into the draperies, furnishings, and carpets.

Advice and Tips

  • Trisodium Phosphate may not be available in your local area. However, it can be found in online stores and local stores that sell home improvement products. If you do not get it, you can use alternative cleaning solutions that such stores may recommend.
  • If the smoke damage is severe, it is advisable to contact a specialists company. Such a company is knowledgeable about such damage and how to restore your property.

For more information, you can visit websites that have information about smoke damage to learn more.

When you are in need of a fire and smoke damage restoration company in Fairview, Montreat, and Asheville, NC contact Secure Restoration.