Wall Cleanup After a Fire

After a fire, soot damage is quite commonly found on walls and ceilings (as well as other materials and objects in the structure). Most wall surfaces, whether they are painted drywall, wallpaper, or brick, are porous in nature. Soot is comprised of very fine particles that can be dry or oily, and these particles can penetrate deep into porous surfaces, causing lingering stains and odors.


In most instances, soot can successfully be removed from walls and ceilings. In cases of severe damage, however, it may be necessary to repaint or remove and reinstall the wallpaper.


Always begin soot cleanup by removing as much dry soot as possible with a HEPA vacuum, lambswool duster, or dry cleaning sponge. To determine if soot is oily or dry, simply wipe a surface with the tip of your finger. If the soot does not smear, it is dry.


Some surfaces, particularly types of wallpaper, can only be cleaned with dry cleaning methods. Other surfaces may tolerate and respond well to wet cleaning procedures. Before performing any wet cleaning procedures, test the cleaning solution on a small inconspicuous area, such as behind a switch plate.


For assistance in selecting products or troubleshooting a particular job, please contact a Restoration Specialist at 800-556-6366.


Training Opportunity: Fire and Smoke Technician is a hands-on course designed to teach restoration professionals how to clean and restore buildings that have been affected by fire damage. You’ll learn the in’s and outs of fire damage restoration from assessing the situation, planning the scope of the job, to marketing your services to adjusters and providing competitive estimates that help you land the job.