soot damage and soot tags after a fire

Soot Tags and Soot Webs: What You Need to Know

If you have seen the aftereffects of a fire in a residential home, even a small kitchen fire, you have seen soot tags. Soot tags may not be the biggest worry for homeowner’s after a fire, but you need to take care of them before they ruin your favorite pair of shoes or that gorgeous cocktail dress you’ve been saving to wear for a special occasion. To help you understand soot tags and how to clean up your soot related mess, here’s a quick overview:

What Are Soot Tags?

Any time there is a fire in a home, there’s a chance of soot webs, also known as soot tags. Soot tags look like spider webs in the corners of rooms, which is why they are sometimes called smoke webs. No matter what you call them, these smoky webs are trouble for your clothing and shoes, and can cause breathing problems for you and your family.

During a fire, the flames release chemicals into the air that come from items burning in your home. While the majority of fires in homes begin in the kitchen, chemicals from burning wood, plastics, carpets, walls and even clothing can swirl around every area of your home.

You’ll notice soot tags in the corners of your home, along the walls, and sometimes on furniture or clothing. If you leave soot tags alone, the gray or black webs will eventually stain and impair the restoration of your home and its contents after a fire. If water was used to douse the fire, the chances are more likely you may be faced with soot webs and mold at the same time.

How Do I Clean Up Soot Tags?

Cleaning up soot cobwebs after a fire is a step-by-step process. First, use a shop vacuum to remove as much of the soot webs as possible. Don’t press the nozzle of the vacuum to the walls, ceilings, furniture, shoes or clothes. Instead, get as close to the soot as possible with the nozzle and let the vacuum do the work.

If you are able to get most of the soot tags removed, you can move on to the next step. However, if you have large bunches of soot webs, you may need a professional’s help to remove the soot tags. Restoration specialists have equipment that make soot removal easier.

Once you remove the soot webs, you can begin to clean. You might want to begin with cleaning the walls and ceilings if they are sooty. You don’t need expensive cleaning products to remove soot from either your walls or your ceilings. You can use a mixture of dishwashing liquid soap and water for both. Use a sponge or a towel to wash down your walls and ceilings.

Common Places Soot Tags Reside

While soot tags are often found in corners of your home and along walls as mentioned before, they can also reside in other areas of your home as well. Soot tags may be present anywhere where air doesn’t circulate well, such as closets.

Your closet may have several issues after a fire. First, just as with the other rooms in your house, make sure you have removed the soot tags with a vacuum.

If the shoes in your closet are moldy after the fire, you will need to try a different technique. If there are soot tags on your moldy shoes, remove them first with a vacuum. Next, gently clean the inside and the outside of your shoes with a mixture of water and rubbing alcohol. You will want to make sure you cover every inch of your shoe in order to remove all of the mold. Allow the shoes to air dry.

After all of the cleaning, you may still notice residue from soot on your walls—not only in your closet, but throughout the house. You can remove residue with those “magic” sponges made from melamine. They do a great job getting rid of lingering soot residue.

When Might I Need Help Cleaning Up?

If you were the victim of a large house fire, you will need to call in professional help. Professionals like Jenkins Restorations have the equipment to clean and remove all of the residue, soot and chemicals left behind after a house fire.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of cleaning up after a house fire, it’s understandable. You don’t have to face the cleanup after a fire alone. We can help you repair and restore your home to its original glory. Contact Jenkins Restorations today, and let us help you move forward!