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Smoke and Soot After a Small Fire

11/27/2019 (Permalink)

Two metal pots on stove with lots of smoke filling the room SERVPRO of Eaton County knows exactly what steps to follow a fire. Reach out to us if you need help with any restoration repairs.

Taking Care of Smoke and Soot After a Small Fire

If you had a small house fire, then you may be wondering why you need to leave your house for some time. After all, if the rest of your house wasn't damaged by the fire, it may seem excessive to stay at a hotel.

However, smoke and soot left behind by the fire carry potential health risks. Learn why you may need to evacuate for some time and how to take care of smoke damages when you return home.

Understand the Health Risks

Believe it or not, about 50 percent to 80 percent of fire-related deaths are because of smoke inhalation rather than burns. Additionally, combustion uses oxygen, so large fires are dangerous since they can use up the oxygen in the air and cause asphyxiation.

Although smaller fires may not use up all the oxygen in the air, the smoke is still dangerous because it is a mix of gases and heated particles. If you or a family member inhales chemical irritants, like sulfur dioxide, in the smoke, then they are at risk for injury. Smoke can irritate eyes, skin, mucous membranes, and respiratory tracts.

Once the fire is out, there will still be lingering smoke and soot in your home, which can still make you sick. Young children, people with poor immune systems, and the elderly are especially at risk for developing respiratory issues, like bronchitis.

Follow the recommendations of fire professionals and restoration companies if they say that you need to evacuate the house. If you or a family member was exposed to any smoke, see a doctor just to make sure you are okay. The effects of smoke inhalation may not reveal themselves right away; keep an eye out for:

  • Prolonged coughing spells
  • Difficulties with concentration
  • Difficulty breathing or a hoarse voice
  • Frequent headaches

If you have any of these symptoms, visit a doctor to make sure that you're all right.

Let Professionals Assess the Smoke Damage

You may need to evacuate your home so that professionals can properly assess the fire and smoke damage. Your insurance company needs to evaluate who was at fault and how the damages will be covered.

Professionals at restoration companies also need to assess what work needs to be done and figure out when it's safe enough to do so. For instance, the restoration professionals may need to properly ventilate the house before they can make repairs.

Although you may think you just have smoke damage, a restoration professional may find other issues. For example, you may have water damages from firefighting efforts, meaning that they will have to make sure the house doesn't have mold or structural damage.

Once the professionals have assessed the damages, they can proceed to make it safe for you to enter the house again.

Remove Lingering Odors When It's Safe to Return

Once you get the go-ahead to return to your home, you may find that while other restorations are underway, there are still odors from the fire. You shouldn't take care of large damages since they can put your health at risk, but you can help eliminate poor air quality.

Products with tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) are great at reducing smoky odors on upholstered furniture, clothing, and curtains. Make sure that you check your fabrics for care instructions. Remember that TSP can be caustic, so make sure that you wear a mask and gloves and follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Purchase dry-cleaning sponges to wipe off any soot or smoke stains on the walls. If there are still loose soot particles on the floor, use a shop-vac to remove the debris. Also consider installing or renting a HEPA air purifier to catch any lingering particulates in the air.

Lastly, talk with a professional from a restoration company to see what they cover in their services. Some places will clean up the odors along with their restorations. Contact us at SERVPRO of Eaton County if you need help with any restorations.

Water Damage? Four Things You Should Do Right Away

11/27/2019 (Permalink)

Blue tile floor with standing water stilling on top If you experience any water damage or are in need repairs down after a storm, contact SERVPRO of Eaton County.

Water Damage? Four Things You Should Do Right Away

Water damage in a home is usually caused by leaking pipes, malfunctioning appliances, sewage backups, heavy rains, or flooding. No matter how a home sustains water damage, it is certain to cause plenty of frustration for the homeowner. Even in cases of extensive water damage, it's important for homeowners to realize that a water damaged home can be repaired and restored.

If you have water damage to your home, here are four things you should do right away.

1. Stay Safe

Your safety is of utmost importance. This is why you should take certain precautions when dealing with water damage in your home. If your home is flooded, you may want to wear protective gloves or a mask to optimize safety.

If you have standing water in your home and notice the smell of gas, you should leave right away. The smell of gas could indicate a gas leak, which might result in an explosion. You should also be aware of the dangers of being electrocuted. Be careful when handling electrical appliances or gadgets. If you notice damaged electrical wires, you should leave.

2. Assess the Water Damage

If your home poses no immediate dangers, you can start to assess the damage. Knowing what kind of water damage your home and personal belongings have sustained helps your insurance adjuster process your claim.

Look for signs of external damage, which includes the roof, exterior walls, and your front and backyard. You will also want to assess the interior damage. Pay particular attention to the attic, walls and ceiling of each room, and the foundation of your basement.

Closely inspect all your personal belongings, as well. This includes:

Appliances

Furniture

Cabinets/dressers

Carpets

Paper products including books and photographs

Electronics and digital media

Some of your personal belongings will be damaged beyond repair. You will need to decide what things to get rid of and what things can be repaired. Any contaminated food should be thrown out immediately. This includes canned goods that were immersed in water.

3. Start Drying Out

If possible, you should start drying out your home as soon as you can. Starting the drying process helps to decrease the amount and severity of the water damage. You should begin by removing any standing water. You can do this by using a wet/dry vacuum. You can also push water out the door with a floor squeegee. Using a mop is a tried and true option as well. 

If you have a lot of standing water, especially in the cases of flooding, the water could be polluted. For this reason, you may need to call professional water extractors. Once all the water has been removed, you should begin the drying out process.

Some ways to do dry out your home include:

Air drying. This can be done by opening doors and windows and using floor fans and exhaust fans.

Dehumidifying. Using a dehumidifier removes hidden moisture and decreases humidity levels, which helps to dry out faster.

Freezer drying and vacuum freeze drying. These drying methods use freezing temperatures to dry out books and other paper products.

Removing moisture from your home and your belongings will reduce the chances of bacterial and mold growth.

4. Begin Cleaning

Once your home has been dried out, you should clean and sanitize the places in your home that have gotten wet. This includes cleaning and sanitizing your floors and walls. If your home's flooring or walls are damaged beyond repair, you will most likely have to replace them.

If your home has received extensive water damage, contact SERVPRO of Eaton County, a professional water damage repair and restoration company. Besides assisting homeowners with drying out their home, they also help clean the home and detect hidden moisture.

Long-Term Effects of Storm Damage

11/27/2019 (Permalink)

exposed black pipes in basement below subfloor If you experience any damage after a storm, contact SERVPRO of Eaton County. We look forward to guiding you through the restoration process.

What You Need to Know About the Long-Term Effects of Storm Damage

Do you think that post-storm water damage dries without help? If you do not treat this potentially serious issue immediately, take a look at what you need to know about the long-term effects of water damage.

Flooring Failure

Water that seeps into your home and floods your flooring can sink through carpets and padding. The result is a damp rug that is slow to dry. But what happens if the rug feels dry to the touch?

In some cases, you can dry and restore storm-damaged or flooded carpeting. This does not mean you should attempt to save your carpets without help. Failure to properly dry the carpets or the padding underneath can cause additional problems for what lies underneath.

Your regular home vacuum can't pull water from under the carpet's surface. Likewise, a fan or other type of similar drier will not reach beneath into the padding. This means what may feel like a completely dry carpet can hide a wet, moldy, or dirty pad. If you have wood flooring under your carpets, a damp pad could cause serious damage over time.

The longer the moisture sits on the wood floor, the more likely the cellulose fibers in the material will soak up excess water. This can warp the wood and cause permanent damage. While other types of flooring, such as tile, may not warp, the constant presence of water can still cause problems.

To prevent warping and other related issues, contract a professional storm damage restoration company as soon as possible. If you do wait, the professional may still have ways to treat the area and restore your home's flooring.

Faulty Furniture

Your flooring is not the only part of your home that is subject to the long-term effects of storm-related water damage. If water sits on your furniture, it can also cause permanent damage. The type of damage your furniture sustains after a flood or storm depends on what it is made from.

Hard, non-porous plastic surfaces are relatively easy to clean and dry. Provided no evidence of mold growth or bacterial contamination exists, you can wipe the item with your choice of household cleaner and dry it with a towel. But if the furniture in question is made of wood or is upholstered, you will need a professional restoration expert's help.

What happens if you wait to call this professional? Like with carpeting, the water could soak through upholstered items and into the padding underneath. This can result in internal mold growth or damage wooden support frames. This destroys the integrity of the item and can cause complete failure.

Again, like with wood floors, wooden furniture can soak up water and warp. Water can also cause spotting on the surface or swelling. Even though the initial water damage may have happened days or weeks ago, a storm damage professional may still have the ability to restore these items.

Weak Walls

Water damage can extend from the floors and furniture to the walls of your home. Like with other types of water damage, the longer moisture sits on your walls, the higher the likelihood that your home will have permanent problems such as mold growth, warping, or other similar issues.

Like with flooring, a dry wall surface does not always mean everything underneath is free from moisture too. Long-term water exposure can result in seepage through drywall or plaster. The underlying wood and other building materials can warp or rot. This can cause serious or extensive structural issues. A restoration professional can evaluate the situation and create a treatment plan.

Do you need restoration help after a storm? Contact SERVPRO of Eaton County for more information.

What is IICRC and why does it matter?

11/13/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Eaton County is an IICRC firm. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) creates the standards for the restoration industry and provides training and certification to restoration companies. IICRC Certified Firms have the right to display the IICRC Certified Logo.

IICRC Certified Firms must

• Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.

• Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.

• Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.

• Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.

• Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.

The IICRC Develops The Standards For The Restoration Industry

The IICRC has been the driving force in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, water damage restoration and mold remediation. These IICRC standards take years to develop and require the coordination of experts in the field: manufacturers, industry organizations, insurance professionals, training schools, contractors, and public health professionals.

Every five years, the standards are reviewed and updated. The water damage restoration field changes rapidly with advancements in technology and science, and therefore the standards must evolve to keep pace.

About SERVPRO of Eaton County

SERVPRO of Eaton County specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. We believe in continuous training: from initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

517-541-1170

14 Potential Fire Hazards in Your Home

11/13/2019 (Permalink)

House fires are more common than you may realize, with potential fire starters like light bulbs, laptops and lint traps hiding in plain sight throughout your home, disguised as harmless everyday necessities. Are you guilty of these bad habits that could start a fire in your home?


Misusing Electric Blankets: A warm and cozy electric blanket is a welcome comfort in the winter but, it also poses a potential fire hazard. Never allow pets to snuggle on top and don't pile extra covers over the electric blanket. Excessive heat builds up may lead to a fire. Never bend the coils, always keep your blanket at it's lowest setting and always turn it off in the morning.


Piling up dirty rags: A wood stain may be the perfect finishing touch on a DIY project, but later on, that pile of oil-soaked rags you tossed in the corner could trigger the perfect storm. Those rags are a very real fire hazard if left unattended. The rags could oxidize and spontaneously combust, causing a house or building fire. Two proper ways to dispose of oily rags are to lay them flat outside to dry or to put them in a metal can filled with water and a tight fitting lid.


Neglecting appliance recalls: Home appliances have caused an estimated 150,000 fires each year, just during the last decade! A significant number of these were caused by faulty appliances. You can visit www.recalls.gov or register your appliance with the manufacturer to keep on top of recalls and prevent disaster.


Lingering dryer lint: We're sure you know emptying the lint screen increases your dryer's efficiency, but did you know that lint is flammable? The combination of lint buildup and excessive heat is a recipe for disaster. Make sure to clean the interior of the dryer frame as well as the dryer vent and exhaust duct regularly to clear away lint and clogs and to reduce the risk of fire.


Letting your laptop overheat: If you own a laptop, you know how hot it can get, Leaving your computer on your bed, chair, rug or another soft flammable surface, you increase the risk of restricting airflow through the cooling vents. This can cause your laptop to overheat and possibly catch fire. Keeping your laptop on a desk or table will help prevent fires.


Choosing the wrong wattage: If you've ever thought "It's okay to use this 60-watt bulb in this 40-watt socket" you're not alone. However, you are putting your home at risk. A leading cause of electrical fires is using a light bulb with a wattage that is too high for a lamp or light fixture. Always check the light fixtures maximum wattage and never go over the recommended rating.


Using too many extension cords: Extension cords are meant to be a temporary response to a lack of electrical outlets; not a permanent solution. The reason why is this: connecting a large number of cords for a significant amount of time causes an overload that will lead to a short circuit - which could start a fire. Hiring a qualified electrician to install additional outlets could help you avoid this problem altogether.


DIY projects you're not qualified to perform: Americas will spend about $200 billion fixing up their homes this year and nearly a fifth of that will go toward DIY projects. Jobs involving electrical wiring, plumbing and HVAC units should never be completed without a qualified professional. Gas leaks and electrical sparks result from improper installation and are a common cause of house fires. Hire a licensed professional instead of attempting dangerous DIYS on your own to avoid putting your family and home at risk.


Disregarding dust: Built-up dust can be a fire hazard if it collects in and around electrical sockets, electronics, and even floor heaters. Vacuuming regularly, especially behind electronics, will significantly reduce the chance of dust particles catching fire.


Improperly storing batteries: Storing 9-volt batteries in your kitchen junk drawer might be putting your home and family at risk. When loose batteries roll around with other metals such as paper clips or screws, the two terminals could short out, possibly generating enough heat to ignite flammables nearby. If storing the batteries in the original package isn't an option, place a piece of electrical tape over the terminal to prevent this possibility.


Ignoring unwanted guests: Rodents like mice and rats like to chew on electrical wires to control the length of their teeth. Over time, they can remove the sheathing, this leaves the wires exposed. The electrical current traveling through the wire generates heat and if the wire is exposed this could lead to sparks, which in turn could ignite the surrounding surface. Call an exterminator if you suspect you have rodents.


Forgetting the chimney sweep: There are common cause of chimney fires, such as dead birds, raccoon nests, cracked mortar, and built-up creosote. The National Fire Protection Assoc. recommends a professional chimney sweep at least once a year. Also, when building a fire in your fireplace, never light it with kerosene. Always use an approved fire starter.


Overlooking the range hood: Ovens and cooktops are the most common sources of kitchen fires. But, range hoods are also a potential threat. Grease builds up over time and can drip down onto the cooktop, possibly starting a fire. These flames could easily reach your cabinets and before you know it your kitchen could be engulfed. Regularly clean and maintain your range hood to keep your kitchen out of harm's way.


Unwisely arranging furniture: Furniture placed too close to a wood stove could spontaneously ignite. Pyrolysis is the chemical decomposition of a combustible item. This occurs when an object is continually exposed to a heat source and dries out. This leading-yet seldom considered the cause of fires doesn't even require a direct flame. It only takes heat and time


If you find yourself in need of restoration after a fire, call SERVPRO of Eaton County. We are available 24/7-365
517-541-1170

Hiring a Hero

11/11/2019 (Permalink)

Our crew member Blake and his troop while gone for drill earlier this month Our very own crew member, Blake, with others at drill this month

1 in 5 Americans are eligible to serve in the U.S. Military. When I think of our family members, friends, co-workers, and fellow Americans taking that oath, I think of those words running throughout their blood, even after they complete their military service.

We are an organization that understands the character and dedication veterans bring to the SERVPRO family. Whether active duty, or retired, SERVPRO of Eaton County is proud to offer a job, and work around schedules for those who serve, or have served our country. 

Trust your nose! Identifying water damage before it's visible

11/11/2019 (Permalink)

A small leak behind the dishwasher hosted some mold growth Mold growth from a slow leak behind the dishwasher

You can’t always see water damage, but you can almost always smell it. Most water damage odors are hard to ignore and alert you that there is damage in your home. Odors from water damage can be noticeable immediately or can occur sometime after the water is removed. Here are some common odors:
Muddy smell: If outdoor flooding has entered the home, you may notice an earthy smell associated with lakes.
Sewage smell: If water damage in your home is a result of a backed-up sewer, you will immediately notice the odor of raw sewage.
Musty odors: Musty odors occur after the fact. This is a sign that mold is growing in your home.
The sooner you notice the problem, the sooner we can help. A highly trained SERVPRO professional can access the degree of your damages.
The assigned crew will identify the source and type of water, which determines the proper course of action. Our drying equipment controls temperature and humidity, minimizing secondary damage.
To get rid of the odor in your home, our trained and certified professionals will find the source of the odor and determine the best methods to neutralize and eliminate the odor from your home.
If mold is growing in your home, we will work to control and remove mold contaminants.
If you suspect water damage in your Eaton County home or business, call SERVPRO of Eaton County at 517-541-1170

The Do's and Don'ts to Follow After a Serious Storm

11/6/2019 (Permalink)

Bookshelf and books partially submerged in dirty brown water from flooding After a serious storm contact SERVPRO of Eaton County, we will help guide you through the restoration process.

Should you break out the boots and trudge through the post-storm flood in your home? Even though the rising water may tempt you into some DIY cleanup, this strategy could cost you unnecessary time and money. If you have storm damage, take a look at the do's and don'ts to follow first.

Do Wait for the Go-Ahead

Is your home structurally sound or safe to re-enter? Whether your ceilings sag, the lights spark, or your home has another potential risk, you need to stay out and away — at least for now.

Before you re-enter your property, wait for the go-ahead from a professional. In some cases, this may mean you need a green light from multiple experts. These could include an electrician, utility worker, EMS personnel, restoration contractor, or engineer. Provided it's safe to go home again, read on for information on the next steps to take.

Don't Take Risks

Even though the experts may say your home is safe to re-enter, that doesn't necessarily mean you can move back in completely. It's likely you'll need to hire a water restoration contractor to mitigate the damage before you resume daily life in your home. If you're not sure whether it's safe to stay, contact a contractor as soon as possible for a professional evaluation.

While you wait for the contractor to assess, treat, and restore your home, steer clear of standing water, weak floors, and other obvious areas of damage.

Do Take Photos

Your insurance company may not send someone to immediately assess the damage. But that doesn't mean you should start the repairs without documentation. If it's safe to re-enter and walk through your home, photograph the damage. This may include pictures of carpeting, walls, ceilings, appliances, and anything else that has a visible post-storm problem.

If you're not exactly sure what type of damage to document, ask the restoration contractor. They can help you to determine what the insurance company may need to see in order to make a claim. Along with the contractor, talk to your insurance agent. The insurance adjuster may need to see specific types of damage or may want views of details you hadn't thought of.

Don't Remove Water-Logged Items

This may seem like the opposite of what you should do after a storm. But if you don't have experience handling water damaged furniture, flooring, or other items, you can cause more problems than you fix with a do-it-yourself approach.

Wait for a damage and restoration contractor to evaluate the situation before you touch anything inside your home. Even though the water may look fresh, it could harbor microorganisms or pose a health risk — especially if the damage happened days ago.

Do Replace Some Items

Even though you shouldn't remove water-damaged items, the contractor should. Along with any standing water, the contractor may remove some items from your home. In some cases, it's possible to restore furniture, flooring, and other home accents. The ability to restore or repair these items depends on the extent of the damage, potential contamination, and the time or cost it will take.

Expect to replace some items — especially anything with severe damage, visible mold growth, or other issues that prevent a full restoration. If the damaged piece of furniture (or other item) is old, low value, worn, or has other damage, you may save time, money, and headaches with a replacement.

Talk to your insurance agent about what this means for your claim. It's possible the insurance company will pay for a replacement. But you shouldn't assume they will without verifying what your policy does and doesn't cover first.

Do you need help with water damage restoration after a storm? Contact SERVPRO of Eaton County for more information.

4 Homeowners Insurance Terms You Need to Know

11/6/2019 (Permalink)

Black pen laying on table on top of homeowner’s insurance paper checklist SERVPRO of Eaton County will work with your insurance company to make sure things get back to the way they were.

Owning your own home can be a rewarding experience, but it can also be expensive. Not only do you have to constantly maintain your home, but there are risks you can't control, such as flooding and fire. For this reason, if you own a home, you need homeowners insurance, which will cover some or all costs of covered disasters. To better protect your home, check out these four insurance terms you need to know.

  1. Peril

A peril is anything that could risk damage to your home, and it's one of the main reasons to have homeowners insurance because the insurance company may pay some or all repairmen/replacement costs. Not all perils are included in most homeowners insurance policies. In general, however, they cover the most common types of perils, such as theft or fire.

If you live in an area with frequent flooding, you may be able to purchase additional insurance to protect against flood damage. Most general policies exclude flood damage unless the damage was sudden and unexpected, such as a new washing machine that fails and floods your laundry room.

  1. Catastrophe

Flood insurance is actually a type of catastrophe insurance. A catastrophe is a disaster (man-made or natural) that causes significant damage. It can be one major event or a handful of events that devastate your property. Catastrophes are not usually covered under your standard insurance policy, but they may be necessary if you live in an area with lots of earthquakes, flooding, tornadoes or hurricanes.  

Catastrophe insurance comes in many forms. If you really want to protect everything you own from flooding or terrorist attacks, you can get a policy that will cover the property and everything inside. For a cheaper premium, however, you can also choose a policy that only covers the house and nothing inside.

  1. Actual Cash Value

When your insurance carrier reimburses you, they may give you the actual cash value (sometimes referred to as market value). This will provide money to repair or replace the damage after considering depreciation. For example, if your deck is destroyed, but it was getting old anyway, the insurance carrier will take the age into account. In other words, they may not give you enough to actually cover the total replacement.

If the deck was brand new, however, there is less depreciation, so you may not have to pay any out-of-pocket expenses. In this case, the insurance carrier would give you the replacement value. Regardless of what type of coverage you have, however, they will only provide money for similar materials and quality. You can't have the insurance carrier replace your damaged asphalt roof with a tile shingle roof.

  1. Exclusion

Every insurance policy has exclusions. Exclusions are disasters and instances when the insurance carrier will not reimburse you. Exclusions usually include any damage that was related to maintenance issues or damage that was easy to control. Even if you take great care of your home, parts need to be replaced. Insurance will not cover these routine repairs.

In most cases, the policy will have an actual section detailing all the exclusions (all-risk policies), so you can immediacy know what is and what is not covered. A peril-specific policy, which only covers a handful of disasters, will list what is covered. Anything else is considered an exclusion.  

Don't gamble with your property by neglecting to purchase or have enough homeowners insurance. It can be the difference between losing your home and repairing it after a disaster.

Save Items After a Kitchen Fire

11/6/2019 (Permalink)

Surprised woman in home kitchen wearing a red apron over a yellow shirt, holding wooden spoon in one hand and a skillet with SERVPRO of Eaton County is ready here to guide you through the restoration process.

A small house fire can lead to extensive problems. A kitchen fire, for example, contained in the area around a stove, may only burn a small area. However, the smoke smell and the soot from the fire will fill the entire room. To save money and preserve the items you love, learn what you can do in the event of a kitchen fire.

Clean Recipe Books

Modern cooks often find their recipes online, but many homes still have treasured family recipe books and paper recipes handwritten by relatives. The books have the sentimentality of an heirloom item, and homeowners may feel their loss will take away the personality of their kitchen.

Clean books carefully by using a cloth dampened with a mild detergent and water to wipe down solid covers. A dry sponge wiped along the ends of the pages can help to remove soot along the edges. Clean the exteriors as much as possible before opening the book because it is possible to spread soot-covered fingerprints across the pages.

Place any books with water damage from fire sprinklers on a table in a well-ventilated room. Open to the first damp page and keep a fan blowing across the book until the page dries. Do each page of the books individually and thoroughly to prevent mold growth from damp pages.

Some services offer ozone chambers that remove the soot and smoke smell. The process can often return the book to its pre-fire condition. Some insurance plans may cover the cost of this restoration service for valuable or irreplaceable books.

Clean Soft Materials

Curtains and kitchen towels absorb smoke odors easily, and a few trips through a washing machine do not always remove the smell or the soot. A soak overnight in a washing machine with baking powder and detergent may remove the offensive odor and soot for mild-to-moderate fabric damage. More severe damage may require professional restoration help.

Wash the Dishes

Clean all dishes thoroughly to make them shine again and to remove the toxins in the soot. Start by wiping away as much soot as possible. A dry-cleaning sponge can remove dirt and soot with no water. The sponges sell at art supply stores, home repair stores, and through online retailers.  

Soak the dishes for 30 minutes or more in a pan of hot, soapy water after wiping thoroughly with the dry sponge. Use a good-quality detergent that cuts through grease. Replace the water and soap after soaking and wash the surfaces thoroughly. Towel dry the dishes and check for any odor. Repeat the process for dishes that still smell like smoke. 

Sort the Groceries

Throw out any food that was open or may have had contact with water or soot. Only the food in sealed containers made from a non-porous material like glass, plastic, and metal are safe after a fire. Throw out the food in the refrigerator if the power was out for over four hours and clear the freezer if the refrigerator was off for 48 hours or more.

Do not keep any open or uncovered food like potatoes in a bin or the items in a fruit bowl. Throw away any food product close to the heat of the fire. Containers that heated too much may look acceptable from the outside, but the products inside may have cooked fully or partially in the jar.

Homeowners have a lot of questions after a fire takes place. Everyone wants to preserve as many of their belongings as possible. At SERVPRO of Eaton County, we can offer advice and clean and restore homes and belongings. Contact us to learn more about the cleanup and restoration services we offer or call immediately to request our emergency services.