24/7 EMERGENCY RESPONSE (877) 261-7876

Get 24/7 Expert Help

(877) 261-7876

soot around a house vent
Fire Restoration June 14, 2019

The Dangers of Soot Exposure and How to Clean Soot Up

In a house fire, smoke and soot are the biggest danger to individuals and the property. Once the fire is out, the soot needs to be immediately dealt with to prevent further health and structural problems. Soot may have spread to the entire property and will corrode anything that it touches. Here’s more important information about soot and how to clean it up after a fire.

What is soot?

Soot is made of tiny carbon particles created by incomplete combustion of fossil fuels (wood, oil, coal, and more). Soot contains acids, chemicals, metals, soils, and dust. These particles leave an ugly sight and foul smell.

During a fire, soot spreads to the whole house, attaching to surfaces. Thus, the acidic properties of soot can further affect the property and indoor air quality if the soot is not removed immediately.

Soot can inhabit the home even if there wasn’t a fire. For example, excessive use of candles can lead to soot buildup. Thus, property owners should use them sparingly (they are also a fire risk). Fireplaces can release soot, as well, if they’re not properly ventilated. Furnaces are also a source of soot contamination when they produce a puff back.

Outdoors, soot is released into the environment when fossil fuels are burned for industrial purposes. The chemical compounds of soot hurt the ecosystem considerably. Soot in a property acts similarly, damaging the indoor air quality in addition to leaving behind bad odours and stains.

What are the dangers of soot exposure?

Particle exposure leads to hundreds of deaths and asthma attacks in Canada each year. Soot-related diseases are the culprit of many of them.

Soot can enter the body through inhalation, ingestion or via the skin and eyes. These toxic particles can cause breathing issues, including asthma, bronchitis, coronary heart disease, and even cancer. Infants, the elderly, and those who already have breathing problems are the most affected.

To avoid the health risks of soot exposure after a home fire, all soot-affected areas in the property must be properly cleaned and sanitized.

How to clean up soot

Properties likely hold many chemicals, such as plastics, foams, carpets, wood products, and synthetic fabrics. Soot derived from these materials leads to health hazards that make fire restoration a dangerous and difficult task. Even if the fire was small, soot particles can invade a whole property through the HVAC system.

When cleaning soot, wearing safety equipment to protect the lungs, skin, and eyes is essential in reducing soot exposure dangers. Specialized techniques such as air scrubbing and thermal fogging are also needed to restore indoor air quality following a fire.

Removing soot thoroughly requires professional tools, knowledge, and expertise. A dust mask and a household cleaner are not enough to clean up soot! Experts can properly clean soot and odours from an entire home to ensure it is safe to inhabit.

The PuroClean team stands ready to provide professional restoration services to any property affected by fire, water or mould damage.