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Is It Safe to Stay in a House with Smoke Damage?

Is It Safe to Stay in a House with Smoke Damage?

No matter how small the fire might seem, smoke damage poses a significant health risk to everyone in the home. The damage and dangers persist even after you’ve put out the fire.

Smoke is invasive. Even though it might seem to have dissipated, if you look carefully, you’ll find signs of smoke damage across the home.

For this reason, it isn’t wise to stay over or sleep in a building after a fire without first cleaning up any lingering smoke particles.

Is It Safe to Stay in a House with Smoke Damage?

House With Smoke Damage

The house is packed with soot and smoke damage in the aftermath of a fire. These elements combine with the foul odor from the various items that got burnt.

The fire can also lead indirectly to indoor air pollution. As it burns plastics, foams, and carpets, these items emit harmful airborne chemical compounds and particles.

These chemical compounds and particles mix with the smoke and seep through the entire house in no time. Anyone present runs the risk of inhaling this potent mixture. It can be fatal to those with existing immunological or respiratory issues.

Some of the compounds and particles that you’ll find in the smoke mixture include:

  • Carbon monoxide
  • Sulfur
  • Asbestos fiber particles
  • Dioxin
  • Phosgene

Here are the three most prominent health risks you and your loved ones face if you stay over in a house with smoke damage:

Read more: How to get smoke smell out of the house

Skin Irritation or Damage

Prolonged exposure to smoke from a fire can lead to dry and ashy skin. The smoke also clogs your skin pores with soot and ash particles. It causes blackheads, acne, and sometimes full-on rashes breakout.

Smoke damage also can have long-term effects on your skin. Smoke can damage the collagen in your skin, which is an essential skin protein. Collagen keeps the skin supple, firm, and tight. Without it, your skin starts to age prematurely and form deep wrinkles.

Smoke Exposure Skin Irritation

Another thing about skin exposure to smoke is that the most significant risk comes from your personal belongings exposed to the fire – clothing, furniture, jewelry, etc. If you use these items, they can transfer harmful chemicals onto your skin. To prevent this, clean all items thoroughly before using them.

If you’ve had a fire in your home and exposure to smoke damage, you may want to see a dermatologist to treat related skin irritation.

Respiratory Issues

Consistently inhaling smoke particles is dangerous. It is especially dangerous for:

  • Infants and children
  • People with cardiopulmonary or respiratory illnesses such as asthma
  • Older adults

Some of the immediate effects of exposure to smoke are:

  • Burning throat and nose
  • Runny nose
  • Shortness of breath
  • Consistent raspy cough
  • Excess phlegm
  • Wheezing
  • Constricted chest

The smoke might kickstart severe asthma symptoms for people with asthma, including some of the signs mentioned earlier.

Long-term respiratory damage can happen due to disrupting oxygen to other body organs. For example, carbon monoxide, when inhaled, strips oxygen from the blood. In this instance, vital organs such as the lungs, the brain, and the heart can suffer damage due to the lack of oxygenated blood.

Eye Irritation

Eye irritation is the most common symptom of smoke damage. The eyes can feel itchy or experience a burning sensation. The eyes can become red and watery in areas with high smoke concentrations.

You should immediately address eye irritation. You can try an over-the-counter artificial tears solution to wash out the smoke particles. Follow up with a cold compress to calm the swelling and irritation.

If left untreated, the damage to your eyes could become permanent. See a doctor immediately if you’ve recently been through a fire and experienced eye irritation.

How Long Does It Take for Fire Smoke Smell to Go Away?

Treating Smoke Smells

Without proper fire & smoke damage cleaning or expunging by an expert, the smell from a fire never goes away entirely. If it does, it will take a long while. Here’s why.

Smoke forms a smooth or slightly dusty layer over every item or part of the home. Due to its particles’ fineness, it tends to permeate through the porous layers of anything it settles on – carpets, books, curtains, clothes, the walls, etc.

The lingering smoke particles make it difficult to remove the foul odor. It also means you’ll still perceive the smell of smoke for a while if you don’t do anything about it.

Smoke can also seep into your HVAC ducts, wiring, pipes, and crevices. Soot, the carbonaceous particles produced by the items burnt in the fire, can also get into small cracks, fibers, and various surfaces.

How Do You Get the Smoke Smell Out of a House After a Tiny Fire?

Getting the smoke smell out of a house can be quite challenging. Often, you’ll need the help of an expert or some special cleaning equipment. However, if you want to start cleaning up while you wait for the experts to arrive, here are two methods to get the smoke smell out of the house:

Air the Rooms

Your first and obvious move is to air every room in your house. Open the doors and windows to ensure cross ventilation. You should also pull down the blinds and remove any net screens to increase airflow.

You can also try placing a couple of industrial fans close to your most oversized windows and doorways. The fans and cross-current can help push the odors and any lingering particles out of the house.

You’ll need to air out the home for a few days to see any noticeable reduction in smell.

Deep Clean Using White Vinegar, Soap, and Warm Water

While it’s best to let the professionals do this, you can start with a homemade solution of white vinegar, soap, and warm water.

Use this solution to brush all your furniture, carpets, and rugs. You should also soak the clothes, furniture covers, bedding, and towels in this solution and rinse before washing them in regular detergent.

Also, wipe the walls, cupboards, decorations, and every part of your home with this solution. Then air the house again.

Read more: Does renters insurance cover smoke damage?

Contact The Experts

Use the methods above to make your home smell fresh and clean again. For a truly deep clean, call an expert today!

Qualified professionals have the expertise, experience, and specialized equipment needed to expunge smoke damage from your home after a fire.

At All Dry USA, we have ozone generators, nano filters, air scrubbers, and more to help you restore your home after smoke and fire damage.

Contact All Dry USA to get your home back to normal. 

Ben Suiskind
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